Italy's volatile politics plunged the EU into a new crisis today July 14, after its coalition government collapsed. One of the ruling coalition parties, the 5-Star Movement, had earlier abstained in a vote in the Senate on a relief bill for soaring energy prices in the country that are driving many people into poverty.
The vote tied to a confidence vote, and Giuseppe Conte the head of M5S stated yesterday, Wednesday, July
13, that his party would not support the government in either of today’s votes.In the even the government survived the confidence vote but only because of a large numer of abstentions with members of other small parties joinging the Five Star contingent and declaring they could no longer back the ruling coalition.
In a statement released by Mario Draghi
the Italian Prime Minister, he announced to his cabinet that he will
resign from his post: “I will tender my resignation to the president of
the republic this evening. The national unity coalition that backed this
government no longer exists”. Draghi's coalition had been in power since January 2021 but had been a lame duck government unable to pass major legislation because they depended on the support of the anti - EU Five Star Movement.
Sergio Mattarella, the Italian President, will now have to make the decision of either accepting or rejecting the PM’s resignation. Word is the President has indicated he will reject it, but that would result in an unwilling leader heading a government that cannot govern. In what seems the most likely outcome of this crisis an election could be scheduled as early as September.
Giuseppe Conte, the Five Star party leader and the second-biggest group in Draghi’s coalition, said he could no longer back Draghi’s cross-party government, which he accused of not doing enough to help families battered by spiralling food and energy costs.
“I have a strong fear that September will be a time when families will face the choice of paying their electricity bill or buying food,” he said after a day of frenetic political consultations.
Crucially, as The Financial Times reports, the implosion of Italy's national unity government, which could trigger earlier elections that were set for spring next year, would come at a sensitive time for the European Union, already enmired in three crises, the cost of living explosion, the war in Ukraine and attendant food and fuel shortages and runaway inflation as a result of the loonytoons COVID response.