Draghi says he has enough support to form Italy’s new government

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Mario Draghi, Europe
Mario Draghi, ECB President

Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi has told Italy’s president that he has secured enough political support to form a new government.

The formation of a broad-based government of national unity was widely expected after most political parties across the spectrum signalled their support for Mr Draghi.

Italy is at a critical juncture as it battles the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, which struck Italy first outside of Asia almost exactly one year ago.

Mr Draghi has also submitted the names of his Cabinet members to President Sergio Mattarella, who has the job of naming them.

The new government will be sworn in on Saturday, followed by votes of confidence in both houses of Parliament, expected early next week.

Mr Draghi, who is credited with having saved the euro, will have the job of spending more than 200 billion euros in European Union recovery funds to relaunch Italy’s economy, badly damaged by a seven-week near-total lockdown last spring and rolling restrictions starting in the autumn.

Some of the pain has been eased by activating existing social welfare programmes along with bans on firings and evictions, but some of those are set to expire and experts have long called for an overhaul of Italy’s short-term lay-off programme.

Mr Draghi, 73, replaces Giuseppe Conte, who resigned after a small party pulled support over the handling of the pandemic.

Mr Draghi was contacted after Mr Conte failed to cobble together enough support for a third coalition government.

Known for his reserved manner, Mr Draghi has kept out of sight during the political consultations and meetings with prospective Cabinet members.

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