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Italian president seeks non-political government to lead

Negotiations today failed to revive the collapsed coalition government.

File image of Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
File image of Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Image: PA

ITALY’S PRESIDENT HAS called on parliament to quickly back a new, non-political government to lead the country through the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Sergio Mattarella made the appeal tonight after negotiations failed to revive the collapsed coalition government of Premier Giuseppe Conte.

Addressing the nation, Mattarella said Italy could ill-afford to have a political campaign and early parliamentary election, adding that citizens demand “concrete and rapid answers” to the health, social and economic crises sparked by the pandemic.

He did not say whom he might choose to lead what he described as a “high-profile” government. But the individual would likely be someone highly respected and considered by parties to be above the political fray.

The presidential palace said Mattarella has invited former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi to a meeting on Wednesday.

Nicknamed ‘Super Mario’, the 73-year-old was credited with playing a crucial role in saving Europe’s single currency, the euro, when he was the European Central Bank’s president.

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The pandemic has devastated Italy’s long-stagnant economy and left the country with Europe’s second-highest Covid-19 death toll.

During the last-ditch discussions that failed today, the parties in what is now Conte’s caretaker government squabbled over European Union pandemic aid and other key policy issues that were blocking formation of a more solid coalition.

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