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POLITICS

These are Italy’s new ministers under Mario Draghi

Incoming Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi unveiled his cabinet on Friday, choosing a mix of veteran politicians and technocrats.

These are Italy's new ministers under Mario Draghi
Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Mario Draghi pose for a group photo with Italy's new Cabinet Ministers. Photo: AFP

Here are some of his new nominees, as well as those returning from the last government of Giuseppe Conte. 

Economy

Draghi has turned to one of Italy's foremost experts in public finances, with whom he has worked before, to head the all-important economy ministry. 

Daniele Franco, 67, is senior deputy governor at the Bank of Italy, where he spent much of his career and overlapped with Draghi when he was governor from 2005 to 2011. 

READ ALSO: The three biggest issues facing Italy's new government

The classical music fan was also an economic advisor at the European Commission's directorate general for economic affairs in the mid 1990s. 

Between 2013 and 2019, he held the post of Italy's state accountant general, leading scrutiny of the public spending — a job that earned him a number of enemies.

Luigi di Maio will carry on as foreign minister. Photo: AFP

Justice

Trailblazer Marta Cartabia, 57, was the first woman to preside over Italy's constitutional court and now becomes the country's first female justice minister. 

A judge and professor of constitutional law at the prestigious Bocconi University in Milan, Cartabia was elected president of the Constitutional Court in 2019.

Unanimously elected by her peers, Cartabia served at the helm of the highest court in Italy for constitutional matters until September last year. 

She noted at the time that although women made up 53 percent of the country's judges, they did not hold the top positions. 

Cartabia's name was floated by Italian media in the spring of 2018 as a potential prime minister when political parties struggled to form a government.

Ecology Transition

Renowned physicist Roberto Cingolani, 59, takes the helm of a newly created portfolio as minister for ecological transition.

The ministry — demanded by the Five Stars Movement, parliament's biggest group — is expected to manage the influx of green projects stemming from EU Recovery Funds. 

READ ALSO: How are Italy's prime ministers chosen?

Cingolani has been in charge of technological innovation at Italian aeronautics giant Leonardo since September 2019, after serving as scientific director of the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa for four years.

He worked from 1988 to 1991 at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart under the direction of the Nobel winner in physics Klaus von Klitzing. 

Economic Development

Giancarlo Giorgetti is a powerful and long-standing political player in Matteo Salvini's far-right League.

A former deputy secretary of the party, he has held various roles since the early 1990s, with La Repubblica newspaper describing him as the representative of the moderate face of the party, with ties with the worlds of banking, finance and industry. 

Giorgetti served in outgoing premier Giuseppe Conte's first coalition government comprising the League and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S).

Health/Foreign/Interior/Culture

Draghi retains some key cabinet members from the prior government of Giuseppe Conte. They include: Roberto Speranza as health minister, Luigi Di Maio for foreign affairs, Luciana Lamorgese as interior minister, and Dario Franceschini for culture.

Roberto Speranza will continue to serve as health minister in Mario Draghi's new government. Photo: AFP

Speranza, 42, was one of the youngest members of the last cabinet, but the former member of the Democratic Party has generally won plaudits as health minister for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which hit Italy during his term.

Di Maio, 34, rose to fame as the new head of the populist Five Stars Movement in 2017. Considered a moderate within the party, Di Maio served as deputy prime minister alongside far-right leader Matteo Salvini, in Conte's first government. 

As foreign minister, Di Maio has had to navigate Italy's relations with its former colony Libya, currently ravaged by civil war, and with Egypt, where an unsolved murder of an Italian citizen in Cairo has raised tensions between the two countries. 

Luciana Lamorgese, 67, an interior ministry veteran and former prefet in Venice and Milan, has spent much of her time handling Italy's migration policy. Replacing Salvini as interior minister in September 2019, Lamorgese was seen as a more moderate choice following the tenure of her predecessor, whose refusal to allow migrants to disembark on Italy's shores is now before the courts.

Dario Franceschini, 62, is a stalwart of the Democratic Party, and has served as culture minister since 2014, save for during Conte's first premiership. A former secretary of the party, Franceschini has written several novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ITALIAN POLITICS

Will Italy’s Five Star Movement split throw the government into crisis?

After the largest party in Italy's coalition government imploded over the country's response to the Ukraine war, Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Wednesday called for unity. Is another political crisis on the horizon?

Will Italy's Five Star Movement split throw the government into crisis?

Draghi has taken a firm, pro-EU line on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: sending weapons to Kyiv, backing sanctions on Moscow despite Italy’s heavy reliance on Russian gas, and supporting Ukraine’s hopes of joining the European Union.

But there have been rumblings of unease within his coalition government, which burst into the open on Tuesday with a split in parliament’s biggest party, the Five Star Movement.

Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced he was leaving the party amid disagreements over how Italy should respond to the Ukraine war.

An estimated 60 lawmakers are following him into his breakaway group, named “Together for the Future” – just over a quarter of Five Star’s MPs.

READ ALSO: Italian government rocked by Five Star party split

The move risks upsetting the fragile balance of power in Draghi’s coalition government, a year before general elections are due and at a difficult time for Italians battling skyrocketing inflation.

A vote on Wednesday suggested parliament still overwhelmingly backs the premier, with the lower Chamber of Deputies approving by 410 to 29 a resolution supporting the Ukraine policy.

The Senate similarly approved it on Tuesday.

Luigi Di Maio (R) applauds after Prime Minister Mario Draghi (L) addresses the Italian Senate on June 21st, 2022. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

“Unity is essential in these moments because the decisions that must be taken are very difficult,” Draghi said before Wednesday’s result, which came one day before an EU summit in Brussels begins.

In an uncharacteristically combative address to deputies, Draghi accused those who disagreed with his policy of effectively calling on Kyiv to surrender.

“There is a fundamental difference between two points of view. One is mine – Ukraine must defend itself, and sanctions and the sending of weapons serve this goal,” Draghi said to applause.

“The other point of view is different. Ukraine must not defend itself, we shouldn’t do sanctions, we shouldn’t send armaments, Russia is too strong, why should we take her on, let Ukraine submit.”

Di Maio had made a similar attack on members of his own party at the weekend, paving the way for Tuesday’s defection.

Five Star leader Giuseppe Conte, the country’s former premier, has argued that Italy should focus on a diplomatic solution, warning against getting involved in an escalating arms race.

Conte and Di Maio have been at odds since long before the war, however.

Five Star leader Giuseppe Conte stressed that his party still backed the coalition, saying: “Support for Draghi is not up for discussion.”

Nevertheless, some commentators believe Draghi’s coalition government – involving all main political parties except the far-right Brothers of Italy – will start to splinter ahead of 2023 elections.

The Five Star split is likely to weigh on “the entire political system, starting with Draghi, who is now more shaky than before,” wrote La Stampa columnist Marcello Sorgi.

The defections in Five Star leave the anti-immigration League of Matteo Salvini as the biggest party in parliament, but it too is struggling with waning public support.

Media reports this week suggest this could work in Giorgia Meloni’s favour in the next election – the far-right Brothers of Italy leader is now being touted as potentially becoming the country’s first female prime minister, as her party remains the only one in opposition to Draghi’s coalition.

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