Italy: Mario Draghi in rescue operation

When the problems become inextricable … call Mario! According to a close friend of the former president of the European Central Bank, this is what Barack Obama used to say to his advisers during the financial crisis. Trained at the famous MIT in Boston, former Director of the Treasury in Rome, passed through Goldman & Sachs then became Governor of the Bank of Italy, Mario Draghi is a man as discreet as he is respected.

A formula of him has remained famous. Three small words uttered in the midst of financial turmoil that saved the euro in 2012. Everything will be done, he said to put out the speculative fire. Whatever it takes ! . In other words, whatever the cost! This was done, despite German reluctance.

European recovery plan

Today, he is called to succeed Giuseppe Conte, barely of majority since the defection of Matteo Renzi. In a brief statement yesterday, he gave the menu. Defeat the pandemic, continue the vaccination campaign and revive the country . Thanks in particular to the European plan of which Italy is the main beneficiary (209 billion euros). Who better than him, who has headed the Treasury for ten years, to ensure that this stimulus plan is not a gigantic pierced pipe but a real opportunity to revive the economy of a country that is chronically suffering? The Milan Stock Exchange, on Wednesday noon, also immediately jumped more than 3% on the announcement of its decision to accept the mission entrusted to it by President Mattarella.

Can the savior of the Euro save Italy? His credit in Milan, Brussels, Paris or Washington is considerable. But first he will have to overcome the swamp of an Italian parliament lacking a political majority. Silvio Berlusconi (who proposed it to the ECB) sees it in a good light. The 5 Star Movement, which made its fortune against elites , much less. Mario Draghi, who studied with the Jesuits, is more political than he appears. The alternative (early parliamentary elections with a resurrected Salvini in ambush) would also be a disaster for Italian interest rates. In the midst of a pandemic.

Three good reasons to avoid early elections

The first reason which makes the calling of early elections unlikely is precisely the European recovery plan itself. In the current state of the polls, a return to the polls would give the right-wing coalition (the League of Salvini + Fratelli d’Italia of Georgia Meloni + Forza Italia of Berlusconi) a majority in parliament. However, the two dominant parties in this political coalition are in very radical sovereignist positions. Even if Matteo Salvini has understood that he has no future on the line of rupture with Europe that he attempted two years ago.

The second reason is the institutional reform which was adopted and which provides for a drastic reduction in the number of parliamentarians in the assemblies who will come out of the polls. In other words, for many elected officials (often out of nowhere as in the 5 Star Movement), unemployment is in perspective. Not supporting Draghi will come at a real personal cost for many of them.

Finally, the third reason that slows down the hypothesis of early elections is the succession to Sergio Mattarella, the President of the Republic, which will be played out in a little over a year. If it is the current parliament which designates his successor, the president will remain a moderate figure, Europeanist and careful of institutional balances. If it was a new parliament, dominated by the League and the far right, these criteria might no longer matter.

Reason (health, economic and institutional) therefore makes the hypothesis of early elections unlikely … but political reason sometimes follows more tortuous paths … Mario Draghi to play. In a register, head of government, which is actually quite new to him.

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