Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON – As Italy experiences an unusual period of political stability, fears grow that a possible departure of Prime Minister Mario Draghi next year could plunge the country back into chaos.
Valerio De Molli, CEO of the European House Ambrosetti Forum, told CNBC on Thursday that Italy is currently in the midst of a “window of stability”.
He added, however, “The political crisis in Italy is always next door, so I can’t bet on my whole family, but you know we have a window of stability, political institutional stability.”
Italy has seen various government formations in recent years, but the political scene has calmed down significantly since Draghi was appointed Prime Minister in February. The former head of the European Central Bank has managed to win support from both the left and the right political spectrum and is a popular figure among the electorate.
“Mario Draghi leads a coalition government, is able to understand and take into account the different sensitivities of the parties, but at the same time set and achieve goals so that the country understands that we are going a way and making progress,” said Gian Maria Gros-Pietro, chairman of the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo, told CNBC on Friday.
Italy’s days of stability, however, may be numbered.
“We shouldn’t have a political crisis in the next six to nine months, then we need the election of the President of the Republic,” said De Molli.
Draghi’s name is often mentioned as a potential candidate to replace incumbent President Sergio Mattarella next year. However, if Draghi became president, it would leave a large void at the executive level.
Carlo Cottarelli, former director of the International Monetary Fund, said: “The chances are good” that Draghi will become president.
“At that point this government would collapse and we would have to go to a general election; that is the greatest uncertainty,” Cottarelli told CNBC on Friday at the Ambrosetti Forum. He said it is possible that Draghi will not continue as prime minister beyond early next year.
Ambrosetti’s De Molli said he believed Draghi was best for Italy as prime minister, head of government and in charge of day-to-day operations.
“Honestly, what Draghi is doing is … right for the country,” De Molli told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick. “He’s not for the left or the right, he does what he’s supposed to do.”
In addition to pushing a reformist agenda, Draghi oversees large investments in the country and its Covid vaccination efforts.
On Thursday, Draghi again urged Italians to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as he wants 80% of the people in the country to be vaccinated by the end of September. According to Our World in Data, 70% of Italians have received at least one dose and 61% are fully vaccinated. The nation was among the worst hit by the pandemic.