Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi has offered to resign – but the country’s president has rejected it

Mr. Draghi, the highly respected former head of the European Central Bank, led a broad coalition.

He said he would step down after a coalition ally withdrew its support for the government earlier on Thursday.

However, President Sergio Mattarella refused his resignation and told him to address parliament to get a clearer picture and see if he can still command a majority.

Mr Draghi could address parliament next week, most likely on Wednesday, Italian television said.

If the deadlock cannot be resolved, the president could find an interim leader or dissolve parliament and call an election as early as September or October.

An election was already scheduled for early 2023.

Mr Draghi won a vote of confidence in parliament earlier but decided to resign after the 5-Star Party boycotted the bill – designed to help Italians cope with soaring energy costs.

“I will submit my resignation to the President of the Republic this evening,” Mr. Draghi announced during a council of ministers, according to a press release from his office.

“The national unity coalition that supported this government no longer exists.”

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Mr Draghi won the vote but senators from the 5-star party boycotted him. Photo: AP

The populist 5-star party was the biggest in the last election in 2018, but its support has plummeted and it has complained that its interests were being ignored.

Mr. Draghi, 74, is Italy‘s sixth prime minister in the last decade.

Since coming to power last February, he has helped keep the country on track with reforms mandated under a €200 billion EU coronavirus recovery plan.

Giovanni Orsina, director of the school of government at LUISS University in Rome, said the president would likely do everything in his power to get Mr Draghi to find a solution.

“We have the pandemic, we have the war, we have the inflation, we have the energy crisis,” she said.

“So it’s definitely not a good time. And also because [President] Mattarella rightly believes that his mission is to safeguard stability.”

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