February 2, 2021

Europe

ITALY: Mediator struggling

BY Wolfango Piccoli

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( 2 mins)

President Sergio Mattarella will meet the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, this evening (2 February). Recall that last week, Fico was tasked by Mattarella to lead the efforts to find a compromise between the parties that supported the last government led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. In today’s meeting, Fico will report back to Mattarella.

Party delegations have been participating in talks to find a way to resolve the crisis since late last week. Although Fico must inform Mattarella in a few hours about the negotiations, there are no clear signs that a solution is at hand due to the persistent contradictions and disagreement on multiple fronts, including the identity of the next prime minister.

It is also worth noting that Matteo Renzi has no incentive to come to a quick agreement. Raising the stakes further could help him to either secure a bigger say (i.e., key ministerial positions) in a new government led again by Giuseppe Conte or, if this does not succeed, make sure that Conte is sidelined as the possible prime minister (Renzi’s goal from the very start of the crisis). Renzi knows that none of the other coalition parties (and possibly some of the opposition parties too) is willing to face early elections.

Amid much uncertainty, it seems that Mattarella will be left with two main options after his meeting with Fico:

  • Give Fico more time for further talks. In this case, it would be reasonable to assume that an agreement is within reach (likely before the end of the week).
  • Call for another round of political consultations. This would suggest that Fico failed to overcome the deadlock, forcing the president to carry out another round of talks with party delegations himself to assess the situation.

As for the continuous media noise about a possible premiership for former ECB president Mario Draghi, we continue to believe it is “fantasy politics.”

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