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Italy: Mario Draghi enters final day of talks to form new government

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Mario Draghi
Mario Draghi   -   Copyright  Credit: AP
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Talks in Italy to form a new government have entered their final day.

The country's president has asked Mario Draghi, economist and former head of the European Central Bank (ECB), to find a majority in parliament.

Italy was plunged into crisis after the former governing coalition — which included the parties Five Star Movement and Democratic Party and was led by PM Giuseppe Conte — collapsed amid disagreements over how to spend COVID recovery money from Brussels.

Draghi was in Rome on Tuesday to conclude his second round of meetings with the country's political forces so that he can propose a new cabinet.

At Monday's meeting with minority parties, Draghi announced his intention to reform Italy's school calendar and speed up the country's vaccination programme.

The former ECB President hopes to extend the academic year to June to make up for the lost time and online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Draghi has also proposed tax and justice reforms, according to Paolo Romani, a senator for the Idea-Cambiamo party.

League, the party of former interior minister Matteo Salvini, said it would be keen on supporting Draghi, while backing has also come from ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

But the Five Star Movement (M5S), the largest party in Italy's parliament, said it will let its member base decide, through an online vote.

"As we have always done, we will let our members decide," M5S political leader Vito Crimi wrote on Facebook.

"We will do so in the awareness that collective intelligence always outweighs the positions of individuals, and we will do so only after President Draghi has provided us with the elements to understand and therefore to deliberate."

Meanwhile, Matteo Renzi's progressive Italia Viva, which forced the crisis by withdrawing its support for Giuseppe Conte's government in January, is expected to reiterate their support for Draghi's proposed government.

One of the big stumbling blocks for Draghi will be to make the progressive Democratic Party and the far-right League coexist.

Analysts have suggested that the economist could attempt to form a mixed executive similar to the one installed by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in 1993.

Last week President Sergio Mattarella called on "Super Mario" Draghi to form a government of national unity capable of tackling the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, which has claimed more than 90,000 lives and plunged the country into its worst recession since the end of the Second World War.

Draghi is expected to report back to Mattarella on Wednesday on the feasibility of forming a government.

Additional sources • AFP, EFE