Brexit: Paragone says ‘big lies’ are told about UK in Italy
Mr Paragone lashed out at calls for Mario Draghi to take the lead in an emergency technocratic government after Giuseppe Conte failed to secure a new majority. Italian President Sergio Mattarella has summoned former European Central Bank chief Mr Draghi for talks today and looks certain to ask him to form a government of national unity to tackle the coronavirus and economic crises.
He will need the backing of MPs in Parliament should he accept to take the lead.
Reacting to the news, Italexit founder and senator Mr Paragone raged as he called on his colleagues in both houses to reject the proposal.
Speaking in a live video on Tuesday evening to his supporters, he blasted: “We will say no. This is the time to say Italexit.
“This is the moment we have to participate in the great Italexit project.
“Today we will start building something important.
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“Today you will finally understand, as it happened with Monti.
“Here and now is the moment to be courageous. Let’s see who will back this Mario Draghi government, put together in the name of the emergency.
“I have already seen too many of these emergency governments and we saw how it ended.
“We saw that the final bill of the crisis landed on poor people’s tables.”
When asked about a possible government led by the former European Central Bank chief, the leader of the centre-right League party Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday the name of Italy’s prime minister doesn’t matter, but their plans do.
“We have five priorities and we will decide according to those,” Mr Salvini told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview. “As I said, the point is not the name of the person.
“He has to tell us what he intends to do”.
Mr Salvini said his party didn’t want the new government to raise taxes, but sought for policies to focus on jobs and pensions.
Mr Draghi’s name has emerged as a potential premier in recent weeks as political turmoil combines with the health and economic emergencies.
But it is not clear which parties in Italy’s deeply fractured parliament would support an administration he would head.
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“Certainly authoritative names and answers are needed in an exceptional crisis like this”, the Senate leader of the centrist party Italia Viva Davide Faraone told La Stampa in an interview, urging parties to do “well and quick”.
“I have a duty to appeal to all political forces (to support) a high-profile government,” Mr Mattarella told reporters, ruling out the only other possibility, early elections, as ill-advised given the array of challenges facing Italy.
Mr Draghi is widely credited with pulling the eurozone back from the brink of collapse in 2012, pledging to do “whatever it takes” to save the single European currency.
He has largely vanished from the public eye since his ECB term ended in October 2019, but his name emerged as a potential premier in recent weeks as political turmoil combined with the health and economic emergencies to form a perfect storm.
The first European country to be hit by the coronavirus, Italy has seen more than 89,000 deaths since its outbreak almost a year ago – the sixth-highest toll in the world.
Lockdowns aimed at curbing the contagion have devastated the economy and data released on Tuesday showed Italy’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 8.8 percent in 2020 – its steepest annual drop since World War Two.
President Mattarella said one of the most important things the next administration had to do was to draw up rapidly plans for how to spend more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund designed to help overcome the economic slump.
Mr Draghi made no immediate comment on the presidential summons and it was not initially clear which parties in the deeply fractured parliament would support an administration he headed.
A senior member of the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, the largest party in parliament and a key member of the last two coalition governments, said the group would never back a government led by Draghi.
“No way,” he said, declining to be named.
By contrast, the Five-Star’s main coalition partner, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), said it was ready to support the former central banker. Mattarella’s initiative “has remedied the disaster,” said PD leader Nicola Zingaretti.
Matteo Renzi, who triggered Conte’s downfall last month by withdrawing his small party from the government in protest at its handling of the pandemic, also pledged support.
All eyes will be on the parties in the right-wing opposition bloc, which includes Mr Salvini’s eurosceptic League, the far-right Brothers of Italy and centre-right Forza Italia led by Silvio Berlusconi.
While Forza Italia was widely expected to rally to Draghi’s side, Brothers of Italy indicated that it would remain in opposition. This might mean that the League could make or break the mooted administration.
A Draghi government would reinforce Italy’s international standing at a time when it has the presidency of the G20. But taking the job would carry risks for the 73-year-old economist.
The last time a technocrat took charge was in 2011, when another economist, Mario Monti, was entrusted with helping Italy out of a debt crisis.
Parliamentarians soon turned on him when they deemed that his economic medicine was too pungent.
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