UPDATE: Italian President Sergio Mattarella has refused PM Mario Draghi’s resignation, saying the the PM must return to Parliament next week to attempt to salvage his fragmented government.
Earlier today, Italian PM Mario Draghi said he would resign following nationwide protests and the collapse of his coalition government.
“I will tender my resignation to the president of the republic this evening,” Draghi told the Cabinet.
“The national unity coalition that backed this government no longer exists.”
His announcement came after the Five Star Movement, part of Draghi’s coalition, refused to participate in a confidence vote, spelling doom for the PM.
“We are not taking part in the vote on this measure today… but this position of ours is not about confidence in the government,” said Five Star leader Mariolina Castellone, referring to a vote on a cost-of-living bill that the group opposed.
However, some analysts have claimed that the Five Star Movement’s decision was based less on the policy and more on generating popular support and creating “turmoil” in Draghi’s party.
“The move by the M5S was largely triggered by turmoil prevailing within the ailing party rather than by meaningful policy differences with the executive,” said the co-president of the consultancy firm Teneo, Wolfango Piccoli.
The turmoil in Draghi’s government has been reflected in the streets of Italy.
Earlier in the week, angry protesters stormed city hall in La Spezia after the mayor refused to discuss rising food costs.
“I have no money to buy bread. What will my daughter eat tonight?” a protester can be heard crying.
Taxi drivers have also been getting rowdy in Rome, protesting the liberalization of taxi services to include ride-sharing companies like Uber, which would likely kill the taxi industry in Italy.
Draghi’s resignation comes only hours after Estonia’s PM resigned to form a new government, days after former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe was assassinated, and just one week after PM Boris Johnson’s government abandoned him.
While not directly linked, the events appear to be indicative of the times, with lockdown leaders being thrown out one after the other while their lesser known but more popular replacements step in.