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Meloni looks to Draghi for continuity and to “co-write” the budget

Giorgia Meloni Mario Draghi
The likeliest next PM is seeking a soft, market-reassuring transition. A road that leads back to the outgoing PM and his team, which she’d like to tap for the fast-approaching budget law deadline. Military aid to Ukraine looks like a foregone conclusion

No time to party. Giorgia Meloni and her party celebrated their electoral victory with haste and moderation, knowing full well the towering challenge that comes with it. First off, a skyrocketing cost-of-living crisis and the need to address it, while creating a governing team that will stand the test of time and be suited to the international scenario.

  • At the moment, Brothers of Italy is busy planning Italy’s next government. The party will have to reach out to its junior partners (Matteo Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia), which garnered roughly a third of its votes.
  • The centre-right coalition governing plan is already agreed upon, but it’s purposefully vague. The parties’ lingering differences might crop up and make the agenda-setting process harder for Ms Meloni.

Hitting the ground running. President Sergio Mattarella will play a key role in the handover between the Draghi government and the future Meloni government. For the first time in Republican history, such a transition happens during the budget session. All while an extremely negative economic outlook heralds an epoch of stagnation bordering on recession.

  • However, the new Parliament’s first session will not take place until October 13, two days before the budget deadline. So no matter the President’s speed in green-lighting the new executive after the new MPs sit in their seats: there isn’t enough time to start from scratch.

Military aid: a (likely) go-ahead. Given the urgency, President Mattarella, PM Draghi and Ms Meloni are already engaging on key dossiers: weapons to Ukraine and the budget law.

  • Corriere della Sera reports that the prospective PM “will be informally advised on a very sensitive issue: the fifth decree for the supply of arms to Ukraine has been prepared, and before launching it, the government has decided to consult her.”
    • No issues there: Brothers of Italy’s team already signalled it would continue to support Kyiv and even discussed the aid package directly with the Ukrainians ahead of the vote.

Economy: unexpected collaboration. Mr Draghi’s team is updating the budget’s financial snapshot, and Ms Meloni, too, is “delving into it” – according to what Brothers of Italy stated on Monday. The party is also hoping that the outgoing government will provide “a framework” on which to base the Finance Bill.

  • Two party heavyweights hinted at close collaboration on these issues. Francesco Lollobrigida acknowledged that Brothers of Italy “will have to have a careful confrontation” with the outgoing cabinet, while Guido Crosetto (who co-founded the party with Ms Meloni) called to write the bill together.

Weathering the storm. The situation is clear for everyone to see: inflation and low growth will eat into revenues and inflate bills as the country faces what has been called the most challenging winter since the postwar period. Add in Italy’s debt rate and the EU funds it’s receiving through its National Recovery and Resilience Plan, and the incentive to rock the boat as little as possible – by cooperating with PM Draghi’s team – becomes even clearer.

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