The implosion of the M5E by Ukraine unbalances the Draghi government

The decision of the Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, to leave the 5 Star Movement (M5E) and cause a split in the party has placed Mario Draghi on the ropes.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
24 June 2022 Friday 12:01
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The implosion of the M5E by Ukraine unbalances the Draghi government

The decision of the Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, to leave the 5 Star Movement (M5E) and cause a split in the party has placed Mario Draghi on the ropes. The Italian prime minister faces the worst political storm since he took office in February last year, just before a week of important international commitments begins, from the European Council in Brussels, to the G-7 meeting in Germany and to the NATO summit in Madrid.

At the moment there have been no practical effects of the schism of the former populists in the Government. Di Maio is still Foreign Minister, and his new parliamentary group Insieme per il futuro (Together for the future) – which has scratched more than 60 deputies and senators from the M5E – continues to support Draghi, with which the former president of the European Central Bank it has the same vast majority as on Monday, although more fragmented. However, the implosion of the M5E greatly complicates the fragile balance of the premier's motley coalition, which is now divided into seven. The M5E is no longer the largest parliamentary force that supports him, but this privilege has passed to Matteo Salvini's League, which from now on could make it difficult for Draghi to carry out ambitious reforms as part of the plan of Recovery. For example, tax reform, about which Salvini has different ideas.

The leaguer has already put on the table the continuity of Di Maio as Foreign Minister. "If he remains in government and does not represent anyone, it is a problem," he assured hotly. It is possible that the League wants to demand a remodeling of the cabinet of ministers to highlight its greater weight in the Executive. Or that Giuseppe Conte, leader of the M5E, asks for it, who has lost a minister (Di Maio), a deputy minister and four undersecretaries who have supported him. Draghi, who found out about Di Maio's divorce on Tuesday morning, does not want to move a chip as important as the head of diplomacy in the middle of the war. He also does not seem willing to make second-tier changes in the short term.

"The split of the M5E is destined to produce effects on the entire political system, beginning with Draghi, who is faltering more than before," published an editorialist in La Stampa yesterday. "Without a doubt Draghi has weakened because there has been a substantial change in the majority," agrees the professor at La Sapienza Oreste Massari. "But for now, he is safe because parliamentarians are not interested in early elections, and there is no alternative majority to this government."

The ball is now in the court of Giuseppe Conte, who, with the aim of regaining some points in the polls, has spent several weeks challenging Draghi's decisions on the war in Ukraine and pressing for an end to the shipment of weapons to Kyiv, as requested by the majority of Italians, according to polls. In public, he assures that he has no intention of removing the M5E from the Executive. In private, some of his followers are confessing that he is considering doing it and giving specific support to some laws, something that would unleash a political crisis and put the survival of the Executive at risk.

"If he had planned to do it, now he can't because Di Maio has accused him of not being faithful enough to the government, and he won't want to agree with him," reassures a Democratic Party (PD) deputy. In a very harsh appearance, the Foreign Minister accused the party he led until 2020 of "hypocrisy", of "ambiguity" in the war and of weakening Italy abroad. Yesterday, Draghi verified that he maintains the support of Parliament after there was no fissure in the vote on a resolution on Ukraine that was the origin of the disagreement. "Unity is essential at this time because the decisions we must make are very difficult," warned the prime minister in the midst of a gale.

The shock on the Italian board marks the beginning of a period of heated spirits, which will heat up after the summer but is already beginning to breathe, before the elections that in principle should be held in the spring of 2023. In the Government they are aware that As the electoral campaign approaches, Draghi will find it more laborious to carry out ambitious projects. Nor will Salvini make it easy for him, who suffers from the nerves of having been displaced in the polls by his rival and ally, Giorgia Meloni of Brothers of Italy.

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