Italian Prime Minister Draghi resigns

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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi addresses the first day of the G7 summit in the Bavarian town of Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, June 26, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool/File Photo

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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi addresses the first day of the G7 summit in the Bavarian town of Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, June 26, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool/File Photo

Mario Draghi said he will step down as Italy’s prime minister on Thursday after one party in his governing coalition failed to take part in a vote of confidence.

“I will submit my resignation to the President of the Republic tonight,” Draghi told the cabinet, according to a statement released by his office.

“The coalition of national unity that supported this government no longer exists,” added Draghi, the former European Central Bank president who has been prime minister of a broad coalition since February 2021.

The confidence vote had become a focal point for tensions within the Draghi government as its parties prepare to fight each other in national elections due in early 2023.

The 5-Star Party’s decision to boycott Thursday’s confidence vote had plunged Italy into political uncertainty and risked undermining efforts to secure billions of euros in European Union funds to deal with a damaging drought and its reliance on reduce Russian gas.

Draghi upped the ante by saying he does not want to run a government without the 5-Star Party, which emerged as the strongest party in the last election in 2018 but has since suffered resignations and a loss of public support.

This could lead to national elections as early as September or October, after other coalition parties said there should be a vote if 5-Star no longer supports the government.

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