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Italian populist party supports Mario Draghi government in online vote

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Former President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.
Former President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michael Probst, File
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The populist Five Star Movement voted on Thursday to back a new Italian government led by former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.

In an online vote, 59.3% of tens of thousands of movement members voted to support Draghi, who was given a mandate from Italy's president Sergio Mattarella to form a new government last week.

The Five Star Movement holds the most seats in parliament but it wasn't clear if the anti-elite movement would support the former ECB and Italian Central bank chief.

"In one of the most dramatic moments of our recent history, the 5 Star Movement chooses the path of courage and participation, but above all it chooses the European way," said Luigi di Maio, Italy's foreign affairs minister.

He had called on members of the movement to vote in favour of Draghi.

It means that Draghi now has the support of nearly all the parties in parliament and is expected to reveal his government soon.

The priorities of the new government include the vaccination campaign and more than €200 billion recovery funds from the European Union.

Italy, plunged into its worst recession since the end of World War II, must present its plan to Brussels by the end of April.

The current political crisis stemmed from Matteo Renzi pulling his party Italia Viva out of the political governing coalition over the use of the COVID recovery funds.

The move prompted Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to resign his post despite surviving two confidence votes in parliament.