Italy in crisis as president rejects premier Draghi’s offer to resign

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Assessment: Drago in Italian is dragon.

ROME — Italy hit a period of dizzying political turbulence Thursday, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi saying he would resign and make way for a new government, only for the country’s president to reject Draghi’s resignation and ask him to reassess whether he can hold a majority together.

President Sergio Mattarella invited Draghi back to Parliament next week, a request that will touch off days of backroom negotiations among parties and potentially lead to some peacemaking — or a more decisive rupture.

And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Daniel 9:26

Draghi for 17 months has been a rare unifying force in Italian politics, commanding a wide left-to-right backing. But that unity has faltered as pandemic concerns have been replaced by inflation, record drought and war in Europe — and as some political parties perceive they might fare better in early elections.

It remains far from certain whether Draghi will hang on as prime minister, or whether Italy will slide into new elections that heavily favor groups from the center-right and far right. But the chaos was a reminder of how quickly political fortunes can rise and fall in Italy, and how much the country might change if Draghi — a pro-Europe leader who has advocated a firm response toward Russia — exits the scene.

Even if Italy pieces together a solution, it’s for the short term. Draghi was always a placeholder leader, though one with significant clout, and Italy has to hold general elections by the early months of next year. The early-stage electioneering has already widened the wedges between the parties in Draghi’s coalition, and the tensions broke out into the open Thursday.

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