ITalia’s new Prime Minister Mario Draghi won a vote of confidence in the Senate on his program against the Corona crisis with a large majority. For the Draghi government and its plans, 262 senators voted on Wednesday evening, with only 40 votes against and two abstentions.
The vote once again made clear the broad support that the new government enjoys in parliament. The vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies is still pending on Thursday. The votes of confidence in both houses of parliament were seen as a mere formality, as Draghi has the support of all major parties.
Draghi wants to “fight the crisis with all means”
The former head of the European Central Bank (ECB) has made containing the corona pandemic and its economic consequences his top priority. He had announced on Wednesday in his first parliamentary speech since taking office that he would “fight the crisis with all possible means”. He also called the Corona crisis an opportunity to rebuild Italy in a more integrated EU.
Draghi, who is nicknamed “Super Mario” in Italy, stepped in after the previous government had broken up and formed a unity government that united parties from left to right.
To accelerate the corona vaccination campaign, Draghi announced the use of volunteers, the military and the civil protection agency. The campaign got off to a strong start in late December, but was then delayed. Of the approximately 60 million inhabitants, only 1.3 million have received the necessary two doses of vaccine so far. More than 94,000 Italians have already died after a corona infection.
As a result of the Corona crisis, Italy has slipped into the worst recession since the Second World War. Last year the economy shrank by almost nine percent, and almost 450,000 people lost their jobs. “Like governments in the immediate post-war era, we have a responsibility to begin a new reconstruction,” Draghi said.
By the end of April, the new Italian government has to present plans for the use of 200 billion euros in EU aid funds for reconstruction after the corona crisis. The use of the funds is a sensitive issue, the dispute over it broke the previous government.
In return for the EU aid money, the Italian government will have to push through unpopular reforms. Draghi announced reforms of the sprawling bureaucracy, opaque tax law and the slow-moving judiciary. The 73-year-old has staffed his cabinet with non-party experts as well as politicians. He placed key areas such as education, justice and infrastructure in the hands of experts.