Populist party backs Draghi as Italy’s new PM in online vote

<p>MILAN &mdash; Grassroots members of Italy’s populist 5-Star Movement, the largest political force in the Italian Parliament, signaled their approval Thursday for a new government to be led by former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi. </p>
<p>The movement said in an online vote, 44,177 of its members were in favor of a Draghi-led government and 30,360 were against, for a margin of 59.3% to 40.7%. The vote binds 5-Star lawmakers in parliament to vote in favor of Draghi’s government when it goes up for a vote of confidence. </p>
<p>The 5-Star Movement is the only political party or movement in Italy with such a system. Its bylaws call for major decisions to be put to members on a web platform, a requirement which the movement promotes as integral to its digital democracy despite repeated fines from Italy’s privacy watchdog for violating privacy rules. </p>
<p>5-Star leaders had urged the rank-and-file membership to support Draghi’s efforts to form a new government to replace the one led by Giuseppe Conte, who resigned as premier after losing the support of a small but key coalition partner over the handling of the pandemic. Conte is close to the 5-Stars, who had ministers in both of his governments. </p>
<p>Even without the 5-Star Movement, Draghi had secured enough pledges of support from other parties, both on the right and the left, to win the confidence vote in both houses.</p>
<p>Draghi’s next move is to report back to President Sergio Mattarella to say he has the backing he needs to proceed. It was not clear when that would happen. </p>