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Italy Will Hold Early Election on Sept. 25 After Draghi Resigns

·3 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Italy will hold an early election on Sept. 25, with a center-right coalition currently leading in the polls.

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President Sergio Mattarella officially called the vote and dissolved parliament on Thursday, after Mario Draghi resigned as prime minister earlier in the day. A bloc led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy could have a clear majority, according to the most recent polling.

Read More: Mario Draghi Saved the Euro, But Italian Politics Beat Him

The collapse of Draghi’s government spooked markets. The euro area’s third-biggest economy faces months of political uncertainty as it faces record inflation, slowing growth and energy shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A weakened Draghi will remain caretaker premier until a new government takes over.

Lawmakers -- now without the discipline imposed by ex-central banker Draghi -- will struggle to agree on the reforms required to unlock 200 billion euros ($205 billion) in European Union aid.

In a short speech after he dissolved parliament, Mattarella urged parties to work together with the outgoing government to address Italy’s multiple challenges, from inflation to the energy crisis.

“The time we live in does not allow us to pause in the crucial government action,” Mattarella said. “We need to contain the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

Campaign Rush

The vote will be the first held in the fall in the country’s history, as it’s the period when parliament is usually preparing the annual budget.

With a short time frame ahead, parties will be rushed to prepare their campaigns to win over voters, who will be away on holiday for part of the summer. The election follows Draghi’s decision to bow out after losing support from three of his key allies during a confidence vote Wednesday.

New elections don’t mean Italy will have a new government in place anytime soon.

While the center-right coalition is expected to win the most seats, negotiations inside the alliance which includes Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, Matteo Salvini’s League, and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia could take weeks to be resolved.

Brothers of Italy and the center-left Democratic Party are head-to-head in the first poll conducted after Draghi’s resignation. But Brothers of Italy emerges as the main party in the center-right coalition, which would make Meloni the leader with the most say on a new government, according to the poll conducted by Lab210.

The League and Forza Italia are credited with about 17% and 6% of the vote respectively, according to the survey.

Still, the election won’t necessarily lead to a victory for the center-right, Democrat leader Enrico Letta told Bloomberg TV, as voters may choose to punish politicians who turned their backs on Draghi. The campaign “will lead voters to understand who was responsible and who wasn’t,” said Letta, a former premier.

“In Italy you know how election campaigns start, but not how they end,” said YouTrend pollster Lorenzo Pregliasco, who has covered over 30 of them in Italy.

(Updates with official confirmation of election date)

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