Words by Sam Kimbley
Former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi was sworn in to be Italy’s’ 30th prime minister this month, officially appointed by President Sergio Mattarella on 13 February in Rome.
Previous prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, resigned after losing support from the Italia Viva party, a small but critical part of Conte’s government coalition. Head of the Italia Viva party Matteo Renzi left the ruling coalition, criticising Conte’s plans to spend the 200 billion euros (£172 Billion) Italy is set to receive from the EU Covid recovery fund.
Draghi doesn’t have any domestic political experience but is entering his prime minister role with a substantial majority after gaining approval from Italy’s two largest political parties. Draghi is also joining the Italian political arena with a high public approval rating.
Prime Minister Draghi has a respected history in his tenure at the ECB, credited as one of the important actors in resolving the Eurozone’s single currency’s considerable problems. Famously saying the ECB would do “whatever it takes” to save the Euro, which sent a clear message to markets that were launching speculative attacks against countries using the Euro.
Draghi will be entering a poor economic situation because despite being one of the largest economies in the Eurozone, Italy’s GDP contracted by 8.9%; Italy also has the second-largest amount of public debt. The new prime minister’s appointment provided some good economic news as it shrank borrowing costs to the lowest it has been for six years.
In entering politics at this stage, it’s clear, according to sources that include analysts like Erik Jones, that Draghi will face many challenges, as the Italian Domestic politics are very different from the “top-down” approach of the ECB.
Italy is also facing a large-scale health crisis, much like many countries currently due to the global pandemic, with Italy presently having one of the highest Covid death rates in Europe (155 deaths per 100,000 people.) The health crisis will be the number one priority for the new president, according to sources at Euronews.
As Draghi says he will “fight the pandemic by all means and safeguard the lives of citizens,” a new era dawns in Italy.
Picture Credit: Presidenza della Repubblica