Draghi resigns for SECOND time in one week as Italy descends into chaos: 'Painful for me'

The former ECB President said his decision was “painful” but due. Mr Draghi the Italian Senate: “Today’s statement allows me to explain the reasons for a choice – my resignation – that as painful as it is, was due.

“I believe that a prime minister who has never appeared before the voters should have the widest possible support in Parliament.”

Hinting at an early general election, Mr Draghi added: “Italy is strong when it is united. Unfortunately in recent months, the distinctions between parties and divisions have prevailed.

“Now the only way, if we want to stay together, is to rebuild the pact of trust from scratch.

“It is mainly the Italians who ask for it.”

Mr Draghi faces a second vote of confidence in both Houses of Parliament.

The outgoing leader renewed his intentions to leave his post should he fail, once again, to receive the backing of all parties part of the coalition government he has led since February 2021.

Mr Draghi tendered his resignation last week after the populist 5-Star Movement refused to back his broad coalition in a parliamentary confidence vote.

President Sergio Mattarella rejected the resignation and instead asked him to address parliament, hoping he would find a solution allowing him to stay in office until the end of the legislature in early 2023.

But little seems to have changed on the political front since last week, when the 5-Star boycotted the confidence vote on measures aimed at alleviating the high cost of living, complaining that its own concerns had been overlooked.

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The former European Central Bank chief has enough backing to remain in office without 5-Star, but he has so far rejected that option because his original mandate was to lead a national unity coalition with parties from across the political spectrum.

5-Star leader Giuseppe Conte said at the weekend he wanted Mr Draghi to signal that he was ready to enact some of his policy priorities before renewing his support to the government, including introducing a minimum wage scheme.

None of the 5-Star MPs present in the Senate showed support for Mr Draghi as he gave his statement.

Complicating efforts to overcome the divisions, the rightist League party and its Forza Italia allies have said they do not want to share power with 5-Star anymore.

They also refused to clap throughout Mr Draghi’s speech.

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The 5-Star has held repeated meetings in recent days to try to decide its strategy, but remains deeply divided. Two party MPs told Reuters that as of Tuesday evening they had not received any indication on how to vote in Wednesday’s debate.

If Mr Draghi believes his government cannot be revived, he would officially hand in his resignation once more to President Mattarella, almost certainly opening the way for elections in late September or early October.

Italy has not had an autumn election since World War Two as that is the period normally reserved for drawing up the budget.

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