Italian government could fall if 5-star shuns confidence vote – Times of India

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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi

ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s Coalition Government appeared to be on the brink of collapse on Thursday after the Five Star Movement, one of its members, said it would not participate in a parliamentary vote of confidence.
Other coalition parties have warned they will step out of government if the 5-Star boycotts the Senate vote later in the day, while Draghi himself said this week he would not lead a government without the 5-Star on board.
The five-star decision plunges Italy into political uncertainty, threatens to undermine efforts to secure billions of euros in European Union funds, and could lead to snap national elections in the autumn.
Italy is expected to vote in the first half of next year and tensions are mounting between members of a coalition that has been in place since early 2021 and on both sides of the political divide.
The prospect of a political crisis was felt in financial markets where Italian bond yields rose sharply, suggesting that investors demanded a higher premium to hold their debt, and equities fell.
After a day of intense party discussions, 5 star leader Giuseppe Contea announced late on Wednesday that it would not support the no-confidence vote and said the government should do more to tackle growing social problems in the eurozone’s third-largest economy.
“I strongly fear that September will be a time when many families will face the terrible choice of paying their electricity bills or buying food,” he said, referring to a sharp spike in energy costs.
PRESIDENT CAN ENTER
Prime Minister said on Tuesday that if 5-Star stops supporting the government, it will be up to President Sergio Mattarella to decide what to do next.
However, Draghi, a former president of the European Central Bank, also said he would not be willing to lead a new government without 5-Star in the cabinet.
Two coalition parties, the right-wing League and the center-left Democratic Party (PD), said early elections on Wednesday are the most likely outcome if the government implodes.
Bringing the vote forward to autumn would be highly unusual in Italy, as that is the time when governments traditionally prepare their budgets, which have to be approved by the end of the year.
President Mattarella could try to persuade Draghi to stay on and have his government formally vote again in the coming days.
The president could also try to appoint a new short-term leader to lead Italy into elections next year.

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