Italy’s Draghi warns 5-Stars against political ultimatums

Jul 12, 2022, 10:05 AM | Updated: 10:36 am
FILE - Italy's President Sergio Mattarella, left, greets Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi at the...

FILE - Italy's President Sergio Mattarella, left, greets Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, ahead of the French President visit. Draghi met Monday, July 11, 2022 with Italy’s president to discuss the future of his government amid simmering tensions with coalition member 5-Star Movement. (Alberto Pizzoli/Pool photo via AP, File)

(Alberto Pizzoli/Pool photo via AP, File)

ROME (AP) — Premier Mario Draghi insisted Tuesday his government was able to keep working despite tensions with the 5-Star Movement, but he warned that it can’t function if coalition members make ultimatums.

Draghi briefed reporters after meeting with unions on the government’s latest efforts to mitigate the effects of soaring inflation and high energy costs on workers, families and industries.

The meeting came after 5-Star lawmakers abstained from voting on a government measure in the lower Chamber of Deputies on Monday, in a sign of a lack of support that prompted Draghi to go huddle with the Italian president. The measure comes before the Senate on Thursday, and questions abound about whether the 5-Stars will abstain in the upper chamber as well.

Draghi stressed: “I have said there is no government without the 5-Stars, and I have said there is no Draghi government other than the current one.”

The 5-Star leadership has been complaining for weeks about government priorities, demanding more generous financial relief for families and businesses slammed by high energy costs and continued funding of a guaranteed monthly salary for those unable to find work.

Draghi said the current government of national unity, which includes parties from the right, left and the populist 5-Stars, had handled the 5-Star “fibrillations” well and was able to still do its work and get things done.

“These fibrillations are important because they concern the existence of the government, but they become more important if the government, even if while existing, can’t do it’s work,” he said. He warned against any further threats down the line, insisting that “a government doesn’t work with ultimatums.”

The 5-Stars Movement, which was the biggest party in Parliament after the 2018 election, has seen its influence wane in the ensuing years amid poor showings in local and administrative elections, as well as expulsions and defections among lawmakers in Parliament.

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Italy’s Draghi warns 5-Stars against political ultimatums