Rome, Feb 13 2021 (AFP) -The economist and former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi formally assumed the position of Prime Minister of Italy this Saturday, in an unprecedented ceremony for measures against a pandemic that has caused a recession economic record in the country.
“I pledge allegiance to the Republic,” Draghi declared before the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, in a ceremony in the presidential palace broadcast live on television.
Also the 23 members of his new cabinet, which includes technocrats, veteran politicians and ministers of the previous Executive, were sworn in.
The ceremony took place in a special, cold climate and without journalists, due to the distancing measures required by the coronavirus.
The new government team then went to the government headquarters, Chigi Palace, for the symbolic exchange of powers with Giuseppe Conte, the outgoing prime minister, who had to resign after losing the support of part of his coalition.
With a long and moving applause from the officials of the head of government, Conte, the first head of government in Europe to face the pandemic and decided to block the entire country, was fired.
Conte’s last months in office were marred by the political crisis, despite the fact that the former law professor, who came to power in 2018 with no political experience, represented a firm and sure hand for many Italians during the darkest months of the year. past the pandemic.
“The Draghi era begins,” writes the newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, when making an analysis of the new Executive and its leader, who starts with 62% popularity, according to the polls.
At the end of the ceremonies, the former president of the ECB convened his first council of ministers this Saturday, in which personalities of his total confidence participate.
Among them Daniele Franco, an expert in public finance and deputy governor of the central bank, the Bank of Italy, who occupies the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Franco will be in charge of managing the € 200 billion ($ 240 billion) fund granted by the European Union to address the pandemic and reactivate the economy.
The new Italian prime minister has chosen technical profiles for the areas where he will push for the biggest reforms, including justice, ecological and digital transition.
Draghi, who won the almost unanimous support of all political parties, both left and right, to form a unity government in the face of the crisis, will submit to the confidence of Parliament next week.
Next Wednesday in the Senate and Thursday in the Chamber of Deputies, the last official act.
The largest formation in parliament, the anti-system of the 5 Star Movement, approved on Thursday with an internal vote a government led by the prestigious economist.
However, the result has generated internal unrest and unleashed the protest of some 30 parliamentarians who could vote against what they consider a defender of the elites.
The appointment of a new super-ministry for the “ecological transition”, in charge of the renowned physicist and computer scientist Roberto Cingolani, who worked at the Italian aeronautical giant Leonardo, should calm the ground.
The difficulties are only just beginning for Draghi, 73, known for his discretion, seriousness and determination.
Italy, which is approaching the threshold of 100,000 deaths from covid, recorded one of the worst falls in GDP in the euro zone in 2020, with a loss of 8.9%.
His coming to power was applauded by the financial markets and represents a first for the history of Italy.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyden wrote on Twitter that Draghi’s experience “will be an exceptional resource for Italy and Europe” and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent congratulations through the same medium.
“This is a historic date. This is the government of national responsibility, of pacification among the political forces,” sums up veteran journalist Federica Mango.
“It’s hard not to exaggerate about the scale of challenges that Draghi and Italy will face,” commented Luigi Scazzieri of the European Center for Reforms.