Italian president has summoned Draghi

Name of new Italian PM doesn't matter, their plans do - League leader tells paper

Mattarella said last night that it was his "duty to appeal to all the political forces in parliament to give their confidence to a high-profile government able to deal promptly with the serious emergencies in progress".

President Sergio Mattarella asked Mr Draghi to head a new administration after there was failure to reach agreement over a new coalition.

Draghi will now hold talks with political parties to try and muster support in parliament for an administration that will be tasked with handling the twin coronavirus and economic crises battering Italy.

The government expects more than 200 billion euros ($240 billion) in European Union recovery funds to help it get back on its feet - but only has until April to submit a spending plan to Brussels. "Winning over the pandemic, completing the vaccination campaign, providing answers to the citizens' immediate problems, and re-launching the economy are the challenges we face".

"It's a hard moment", Mr Draghi, 73, said.

Appealing for unity from Italy's squabbling political forces, he said: "We have the chance to do a lot for our country".

The central banker dubbed 'Super Mario may be the man for that moment.

His greatest hurdle, though, will be securing support from the 5-Star Movement, which was the senior partner in Conte's government.

The block had insisted on Mr Conte remaining premier and bitterly resented Mr Renzi's power play that brought him down.

"The 5-Star would only have supported a government led by Giuseppe Conte", said Riccardo Fraccaro, a party bigwig and government undersecretary. "As such, it will not vote in favor of a technical government headed by Mario Draghi", Crimi said in a statement.

Name of new Italian PM doesn't matter, their plans do - League leader tells paper

"I trust that reflection will make possible tomorrow what appears complex today", Conte's Democrat culture minister, Dario Franceschini, told Huffington Post's Italian edition.

Former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi speaks to the media after accepting a mandate to form Italy's new government, at the Quirinale Presidential Palace, in Rome, on February 3, 2021. "Otherwise there is the possibility that Draghi will get back to the president of the republic Mattarella and say 'I am sorry, I can not actually form a government'".

Italy's 10-year bond yield tumbled 10 basis points to 0.55%, its lowest level in two weeks.

However the M5S is against a government led by the 73-year-old economist, while it remains to be seen how the right-wing opposition bloc will react. Italy, with over 89,000 confirmed virus deaths, has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe after Britain. It is trying to ramp up its vaccination campaign and must report back to the European Union on how it plans to spend the recovery funds.

Questions how elections could be carried out during covid pandemic.

Former European bank chief Mario Draghi looks set to be Italy's next prime minister, following the resignation of Giuseppe Conte. He made clear he was pleased with the outcome, praising Mattarella's "wise" decision.

The appointment came after Draghi met with Mattarella for over one hour at the Quirinale Palace. As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli has reported, "Among many achievements, Draghi was the architect of Italy's massive privatization program in the '90's, executive director of the World Bank, and managing director for Goldman Sachs International".

Draghi became the chief of the European Central Bank in 2011, when Italy was going through a debt crisis.

Draghi, an Italian economist credited with saving the eurozone at the height of the debt crisis in 2012, would take over at a crucial time, with his country still battling a raging pandemic. The ensuing economic devastation has only made matters worse, with gross domestic product falling 8.8% a year ago and almost 450,000 jobs lost, national statistics agency ISTAT reported this week.

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