Italian government blocks immediate possibility of early elections

ROME -- The Italian Premier Mario Draghi's government has stopped the immediate possibility of an early election, after a key ally said he would stay in the coalition.

Italian government blocks immediate possibility of early elections

ROME -- The Italian Premier Mario Draghi's government has stopped the immediate possibility of an early election, after a key ally said he would stay in the coalition.

Draghi spent more than an hour with Giuseppe Conte (previous Premier) who is now the leader the populist 5-Star Movement.

Draghi's coalition partners include the left and right sides of the political spectrum, as well as the populists. He has publicly stated that his government could not continue without the support from the 5-Stars.

Conte is caught between loyalty to the coalition, and pressures from his increasingly disillusioned base.

Conte said that Draghi was a contact and that he had given a document titled the 5-Stars. He expressed concern over the government's policy.

Conte stated that Draghi would "take the time to consider our requests." These include financial relief for families and businesses that are hit hard by high energy prices and guaranteed funding of a monthly salary to the unemployed -- a promise which saw the 5-Stars win parliamentary seats in the south underdeveloped in 2018.

Draghi did not immediately give an assessment of the talks.

Conte stated, "I didn't expect an immediate response -- this wouldn't even seem serious."

However, Italian media reported that Conte would be attending more meetings -- another indication that Conte isn't ready to leave.

Conte stated that while we are willing to share the responsibility of governing in the same way as we have up until now, I stress, it is done in a loyal, construction-like manner. But what's required is a strong signal to indicate a break from policies so far.

Draghi's decision not to send more military assistance to Ukraine in order to protect it from Russian invasion was a irritant to some 5-Star leaders. It was approved by the majority of populist lawmakers.

Conte, a mediator lawyer, was drafted by 5-Stars to be their premiership choice after the Movement won the 2018 parliamentary elections. He is now the largest single political force in the legislature.

However, the party's fortunes are in tatters since then, both among legislators, the public in opinion polls, and among voters who have trounced them at regional and mayoral election in the past few years.

Many Movement lawmakers have defected to form their own political party, joining other forces in Parliament or being independents.

Di Maio claimed that the 5-Stars were less than stalwart supporters of Italy's proNATO stance.

Before Conte was elected to two governments, there were concerns that he would not be authoritative enough for Italy's economic recovery and the continuation of the pandemic.

Draghi is a former chief of European Central Bank. The president of Italy then tapped him to create a unity coalition from the country's perennially squabbling parties.

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