Draghi demands unity to remain Italy’s prime minister

ROME – Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who offered to resign last week after an uprising in his broad government of national unity, the country’s divided parties on Wednesday called for sticking together for the good of the country as a condition of his tenure.

“The only way forward if we want to stay together is to rebuild this treaty from the top with courage, altruism and trust,” he said. Draghi said in a speech in the Italian Senate, throwing down the gauntlet before a vote of confidence in the upper and lower houses of parliament on Wednesday and Thursday, which will determine the fate of his government, as well as the stability of Italy and much of Europe at a particularly difficult time.

mr. Draghi, to much applause but also some shouting, said that public protests about the continuation of the government “cannot be ignored” and that while “Italy is strong when it knows how to unite”, political motives “unfortunately” led to the parties strive to excel and weaken “the desire to move forward together.”

This politicking has brought Italy back to the brink of instability after a period of relative calm, progress and expansion under Mr. Trump. Draghi, who made Italy an important part of Europe’s united front against Russia in response to its war in Ukraine and its efforts to rebuild its economy amid the pandemic.

Much will now depend on whether Italy’s political parties support Mr. Trump. Draghi’s proposal, especially the Five Star Movement, which sparked the current crisis by refusing last week to support a key vote on government spending priorities.

This uprising prompted an offer to resign from Mr. Draghi. Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s president, rejected the resignation and asked Mr Draghi to address Parliament, where a vote of confidence would force all parties to take responsibility for their decisions.

mr. Draghi told parliament on Wednesday that the Five Star uprising meant the “end” of the confidence pact that fueled his government and that it was unacceptable. He warned that if one party could do it, it “could be repeated by any” and ransom demands on the government in line with narrow political interests would become the norm.

He said that because he was appointed interim prime minister rather than directly elected, his legitimacy depended on “the widest possible support”.

“Are you ready to restore this pact?” mr. Draghi repeated several times, concluding that the answer to this question should not be given to him, but to the Italian people.

If Mr. Draghi doesn’t get the support he asked for today, he will step down for good, and many analysts believe Mr. Mattarella will call for an early election as early as September.

mr. Draghi’s speech was an attempt to avoid the chaos such a crisis would likely bring.