“Mattarella’s re-election is great news for Italians,” said Mario Draghi as soon as the count was finished. “I am grateful to the president for his choice to support the very strong will of Parliament to re-elect him for a second term.”
He entered the conclave as Pope and was released as a cardinal. For months he considered his ascent to the Colle almost a natural thing, also due to the overwhelming majority who support his government. But as soon as Monday the games began in earnest, and it became clear that the resistance of Salvini, Conte and Berlusconi was not a bluff. Not to mention the widespread and transversal hostility directed at the premier’s move to Colle, in the true or presumed belief among the peons that this choice would have led to election.
And in fact, despite the loyalty of Enrico Letta, who tried to push him to the last, Draghi never really entered the game. It became clear on Monday, when the premier saw Salvini, who began to set impossible conditions for the birth of the new government: the Viminale for Lega, an almost complete reset of the team. Draghi immediately pointed out that he did not want and cannot move as Head of State before being elected: “This is not the place to go into the details of the new executive.” Out of character and out of respect for the Constitution, he limited himself to saying that he would work to facilitate the birth of a new government that would complete the legislature.
Lega put up a total wall and, in fact, the no to Draghi remained one of the very few fixed points of Salvini’s schizophrenic strategy. Since Tuesday, the premier has sunk, at least in the media until Thursday when he phoned Silvio Berlusconi in the hospital and then saw Antonio Tajani’s number two. From this double interlocution, the certainty emerged that the road to the Colle was blocked. And so the premier, also pushed by important pieces of his majority, silently began the weaving work for Mattarella’s confirmation, which also meant securing his government. “We go on, the winning team does not change. We have so many things to do, it will be six important months… ,” he confided to his collaborators on Friday. That day was the last negotiation with Salvini.
Draghi was very worried about how things had turned out. And he had made it known for some time that only the confirmation of Mattarella (or alternatively the election of Amato), with the votes of the whole majority, would allow the government to continue smooth sailing. And so yesterday morning the turning point: at the Quirinale, on the sidelines of the oath of the new constitutional judge Filippo Patroni Griffi, the decisive conversation with Mattarella. Half an hour face to face in which Draghi told the president: “It is appropriate that you stay for the good and stability of the country.”
A message that arrived in the same hours in which the top of the majority leaders indicated for an encore. And after all, it had been at least two days that — in the face of the obvious impasse — the majority had been expecting a clear word from Draghi about the Quirinale match, a message to give the green light to Mattarella, making the decision.
The premier therefore does not emerge weakened by what is an objective renunciation of his plans. Indeed, he remains in pole position if, after 2023, Mattarella decides to shorten his term like Napolitano. And yet the government’s strength is yet to be verified: Lega has imploded, Giorgetti is thinking of resigning, Salvini is asking for a three-way meeting with the premier and his minister, and Conte — wounded — also asks for a “clarification”. For the weekend, Draghi ran away to his Città della Pieve and went to a restaurant with his wife. He followed the counting from home. Tomorrow, a new council of ministers.