The Washington Post

Draghi steps down; elections set for Sept.

- — Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli

Italy’s rancorous government collapse was finalized Thursday morning, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigning and new elections called for September.

Although Draghi tried to hold the government together after his first offer to resign was rejected by Italy’s president last week, his effort ended instead with recriminat­ions and deepened divisions, bringing a crashing end to a period of relative political unity in the European Union’s third-largest economy.

The snap elections set for Sept. 25 favor a grouping of parties from the center right and far right.

For a year and a half, the centrist Draghi led a broad, left-to-right government and marshaled his reputation — built as Europe’s former top central banker — to increase Italy’s influence in Brussels and vouch forcefully for a hard European line against Russia in its war in Ukraine.

But leaders of several coalition parties signaled that they preferred something else.

The collapse became official Thursday morning, when Draghi met with President Sergio Mattarella and informed him of his resignatio­n, once again.

This time, Mattarella’s office said the president had “taken note” of the resignatio­n and had asked Draghi’s government to remain in place as a temporary caretaker.

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