Italian political drama under the shadow of the Recovery Plan

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Prime Minister Mario Draghi presented the first draft version of the national recovery and resilience plan (Recovery Plan) to his government. It was a crucial and long-awaited step. The former head of the ECB was called to Palazzo Chigi to restart the Italian economy and limit the social and especially cultural repercussions of the health crisis, making the most of the extraordinary European funds.

A decisive undertaking, which will mark the trajectory of Italy for better or for worse in the decades to come. The final green light to the Recovery Plan will come no earlier than next week, pending a more solid political understanding between the ruling coalition allies who jostle to define the allocation of funds and above all to establish their governance mechanisms. For now the scheme provides for a single control center at the Ministry of Economy and Finance and a political control room at Palazzo Chigi.

Nevertheless, this week’s political diary cannot ignore a passage on the vibrant debate that divided coalition allies on reopening and curfew times. A real battle of position that confirms, if ever it were needed, the gradual waning of the climate of unity of purposes and national cohesion that seemed to have accompanied the advent of the new executive.

Everything revolved around far-right League’s abstention in the Cabinet meeting vote on the reopening decree due to Draghi’s non-acceptance of the calls to extend curfew to 11 pm and the request not to make distinctions between indoor and outdoor restaurants for their reopening. These demands also came from most of local administrators and the Regions but were promptly returned to the sender by Palazzo Chigi’s tenant in the name of caution and respect for the chain of command.

Hence the League’s abstention in the Cabinet meeting which represented the first real hitch in the government since taking office, provoking the irritation of the premier himself. But also representing a political misstep disliked by co-ruling populist M5S and center-left PD, which fear they will soon have to witness to other similar diktats when ahead there is the need to approve and mange Draghi’s Recovery Fund.

Despite the displays of strength, it is certainly not an easy moment for Matteo Salvini’s League. The choice of supporting Draghi’s national unity executive re-proposed the old friction between the party’s pro-government wing, embodied by Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, and the secretary himself, who is forced to balance the League’s new institutional commitments with the equally strong need to remain the leading actor in the center-right panorama in view of a future return to the polls. The reference is to the long-distance duel with rightist Brothers of Italy party, which remained in the opposition and is therefore free to shell at will on the government’s measures and above all it is growing in the polls at the expense of the League.

Waiting to find out if the League can become a trusted ally in Draghi’s ruling coalition (doubting it is legitimate), the impression is that the M5S’ and PD’s harsh reaction against Salvini also depends on their strong discomfort at having had to come to terms, and even to govern Italy, with the one who had been their fiercest opposer at the time of the previous Conte II Cabinet. Hence the many hits and vitriolic accusations of wanting to break the unity of the ruling coalition that followed, in the name of their unmentionable desire to get rid of the cumbersome and unwelcome new majority ally.

In the story of the political week there is also room for the unspeakable Grillo-case, which exploded in the midst of the sensational rift that took place between the Rousseau platform and the M5S after eight years of coexistence. The video with which the 5Stars founder took the defense of his son, accused along with three friends of group sexual violence for the alleged rape of a 19-year-old girl in Porto Cervo, triggered the reactions of the whole Italian political world, making it rain hard criticism of the Genoese comedian for his words spread through social media.

At the same time, it has thrown several M5S MPs into very serious embarrassment – since they were forced to distance themselves from Grillo just at the moment when the Movement was getting used to its voice as guarantor-leader. The statutory void without a formal regent aggravates internal tensions and it is indicative that even the former political leader Luigi Di Maio is doing everything to avoid exposing himself on the issue. Not to mention the substantial disappearance of the M5S from any political debate that does not concern its own destiny, or the fact that the self-isolation of the founder obliges the former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to confront Davide Casaleggio, from whom he divides everything: history, direction to take and interest.