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Mario Draghi resigns as Italian PM

by host

ROME — Mario Draghi has resigned as Italian prime minister, throwing the country into months of turmoil and weakening Europe’s leadership at a critical time.

President Sergio Mattarella’s office announced the news on Thursday morning after the two men met for talks at the presidential palace. Draghi’s decision to quit came after he failed to win the support of his coalition partners in a vote of confidence in parliament.

A statement from the president’s office said: “After having reported on yesterday’s discussion and vote in the Senate, [Draghi] reiterated his and his government’s resignation. The President has taken note of it. The Government remains in office for the handling of current affairs.”

In emotional scenes in parliament earlier on Thursday morning, Draghi told the Lower House he would visit the president to hand in his resignation. He was met with extended applause from some in the chamber, who rose to their feet.

Draghi expressed his gratitude, saying: “Thanks, even central bankers have a heart,” in a reference to a recent joke he made about central bankers having unused hearts.

His exit marks the culmination of weeks of tensions within Italy’s fractious coalition. This week, the prime minister lost the backing of the right-wing parties in his alliance, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini’s League.

His resignation will almost certainly lead to an early election this fall, which would plunge Italy into months of upheaval. The right-wing parties would be expected to win that vote and take power as part of a coalition with the opposition Brothers of Italy.

The exit of the 74-year-old former president of the European Central Bank deprives the EU of one of its most experienced leaders at a critical moment, with inflation soaring and war raging on its borders.

This article was updated.

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