News Italian PM offers to resign amid stalemate over package to assist with cost of living
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Italian PM offers to resign amid stalemate over package to assist with cost of living

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The Italian head of state has rejected the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi and asked him to address parliament to get a clear picture of the political situation, a statement from President Sergio Mattarella’s office says.

Mr Draghi had announced his plan to resign on Thursday after the 5-Star Movement, a coalition member, declined to back him in a confidence vote over his plan to combat soaring prices.

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

It was not clear how Mr Draghi would respond to the intervention of Mattarella, the supreme arbiter in Italian politics.

The confidence vote had become a focal point for tensions within Mr Draghi’s government as its parties prepare to fight each other in a general election due by early 2023.

The 5-Star party had wanted Mr Draghi to do more to help families to cope with rising inflation in part caused by the war in Ukraine, even if it meant a steeper hike in government borrowing.

The decision by the 5-Star party to boycott the confidence vote triggered the sequence of events that prompted the 74-year-old Mr Draghi to say he would quit.

Mr Draghi had said he would not want to lead a government without 5-Star, which emerged as the largest party in the previous election in 2018 but has since suffered defections and a loss of public support.

Mr Mattarella can try to persuade Mr Draghi to form another government, find a new caretaker leader to take Italy to an election next year or call an early election.

Italy has not had an autumn election since World War II as that is normally when the budget is drawn up and approved by parliament.