Luigi Di Maio has warned that the crisis around Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government could see an end to support
Political unrest in Italy could soon prevent Rome from continuing to support Ukraine with arms shipments, the country’s foreign minister has warned. According to Luigi Di Maio, this would be the case if the incumbent government did not survive a vote of no confidence next week.
In a phone interview with US media outlet Politico on Friday, Di Maio said those in Italy who want Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government to collapse are playing into the Kremlin’s hands.
“The Russians are celebrating right now for bringing down another western government,” argued the minister.
Di Maio went on to express doubts about Italy’s ability to continue supplying arms to Ukraine under these circumstances, adding that “This is one of many serious issues.”
The official explained that, if the government collapsed, he would still remain in power for a while on an interim basis. However, in this case, its powers would be reduced, which means, among other things, that the government could not continue arms deliveries to Ukraine.
“If the government falls on Wednesday, we will not have the power to sign new energy contracts and that is serious because we are heading into winter,” added the minister.
According to Di Maio, Italy could also find itself without a 2023 budget as the document is normally passed by parliament between July and December. If there were to be elections in September or October, however, it could take months for a new coalition government to be formed, meaning the budget would be postponed, the minister explained. He added that it took 100 days to form a government last time.
On Thursday, the Five Star Movement, part of Prime Minister Draghi’s coalition government, boycotted a vote of no confidence, with the prime minister offering to resign in response. However, Italian President Sergio Mattarella refused to accept his resignation, with Draghi’s government facing another no-confidence vote on Wednesday.
Di Maio, who had been a leader of the Five Star Movement but quit the party last month over a dispute over arms supplies to Ukraine, lashed out at his former allies, accusing them of “help Putin’s propaganda and autocracy on democracy.”
The foreign minister hailed Prime Minister Draghi as one of the fiercest opponents of the Kremlin in the West, who has advocated tough sanctions and freezing Russia’s foreign exchange reserves after the start of the Russian offensive against the Ukraine at the end of February.
The Five Star Movement has tried to weaken the incumbent Italian government several times in recent months already, the official said. He specifically mentioned the party’s opposition to an increase in Italy’s defense spending to meet the NATO target, as well as a resolution in parliament against NATO and Italy’s support for the ‘Ukraine.
Di Maio, however, said at the same time that many other political forces and trade unions in Italy understood the importance of having a fully functioning government, meaning that Draghi hopefully could stay in power after all.
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