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

International

Former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi arrives at the Quirinale presidential palace for talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. Draghi has secured pledges of backing from nearly every party in the Italian Parliament as he wrapped up political consultations aimed at giving the pandemic-ravaged nation a new government. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME (AP) — Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Friday 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 signaled their support for 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.

Draghi’s 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 Saturday, followed by votes of confidence in both houses of Parliament, expected early next week.

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 fall.

Some of the pain has been eased by activating existing social amortization programs 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 layoff program.

Draghi, 73, replaces Giuseppe Conte, who resigned after a small party yanked support over the handling of the pandemic. Draghi was tapped after Conte failed to cobble together enough support for a third coalition government.

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

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