The possibility that Mario draghi assumes the as President of the Republic causes cold sweats in political-economic circles, which fear that, by leaving the head of government, the new "economic miracle" that Italy lives comes to an end.

Draghi’s transformation, from "Super Mario" savior of the euro and of Italy, in "grandfather at the service of institutions", as he himself described, arouses concern in most of the analysts consulted, who prefer that he remain in his current position as prime minister.

It is the fear of the empty chair. Who could take the place of Draghi, 74, if he succeeds Sergio Mattarella, whose term ends on February 3, to guarantee the survival of the motley coalition until 2023, the end of the legislature?

"The risk is great, at least in the short term. Mario Draghi is the person who guarantees the unity of this Executive and there is no one in the current Italian political scene who can replace him and guarantee that cohesion"Jesús Castillo, an economist at Natixis, explained to AFP.

It’s more, "if he becomes president, there will soon be a political blockade and probably early elections"he warned.

Elections that would be held at the worst time, because Italy "must respect a very tight schedule of reforms to receive the funds" of the European recovery plan, of which it is the main beneficiary with nearly 200,000 million euros (220,000 million dollars).

‘Instability factor’

The end of Mario Draghi’s government would constitute "a factor of instability and would have serious repercussions both for the implementation of the recovery plan" What "in investor confidence", says Giuliano Noci, professor of strategy at the Milan Polytechnic.

The "spread" o spread between the Italian debt rate and the German 10-year benchmark rate, which has fallen sharply since Draghi took over a year ago, "would increase significantly, at least in the short term", the expert explained to AFP.

The American investment bank Goldman Sachs, in which Draghi worked from 2002 to 2005, has already made its calculations: his resignation as head of the government could reduce the effective use of the 39,000 million euros of planned European subsidies from 50 to 75%. by 2022.

"A delay in the implementation of the economic reactivation plan and reforms" could have "a significant impact on the markets" and curb Italy’s economic growth, the bank warned.

Growth is estimated to exceed the 6% recorded in 2021, a figure unprecedented since the 1960s and recorded after an 8.9% drop in GDP in 2020.

Although Italy often misuses European Union funds, "reached 51 goals" agreed with the entity in 2021, explained Draghi.

According to him, the foundations were laid for the government to carry out the reforms, "regardless of who is" to the front, but on the condition that he supports them "the largest possible majority", He said.

stalled negotiations

The key point will be negotiations. The first round for the vote by the Parliament of Sergio Mattarella’s successor has been set for January 24.

Negotiations between the parties are stalled for now. The main stumbling block is the candidacy of former prime minister and communications tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, who, at 85, dreams of becoming president despite his many legal setbacks.

To block Draghi’s access to the presidency, the tycoon announced that his party, Forza Italia (right), will withdraw its support for the governing coalition if the head of government is elected president.

Despite Draghi’s enormous prestige in Italy and Europe, his path to the presidential palace is full of obstacles.

"Draghi is far from being president. And Berlusconi is a political animal, who has been given up for dead a thousand times and who is resurrected every time"commented an analyst who requested anonymity.

In charge of the rescue of Italy in February 2021, Draghi succeeded Giuseppe Conte in the midst of a health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Going to the presidency would be abandoning ship in the midst of the new outbreak of the pandemic without completing the reforms, which is why some observers consider that he will not accept.

"For the good of the country, I hope that he stays in the Chigi Palace (seat of government, ndr) and that he is elected president of the European Commission in 2024"confesses Professor Noci.



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