Mario Draghi, a former European Central Bank chief was formally sworn in as Italy’s new prime minister on Saturday, February 13, 2021, against the backdrop of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and a crippling recession.
The appointment of the 73-year-old known as “Super Mario” capped weeks of political instability for the country still in the grips of the health crisis that has killed more than 93,000 people.
“I swear to be loyal to the Republic,” recited Draghi, as he stood before President Sergio Mattarella in the ornate presidential palace in a ceremony broadcast live on television.
Members of his new cabinet, who include technocrats, veteran politicians, and ministers held over from the previous government, each took the oath of office.
Draghi was parachuted in by Mattarella after the previous centre-left coalition under premier Giuseppe Conte collapsed, leading Italy rudderless at a critical time.
He spent the last 10 days assembling a broad-based coalition and on Friday night formally accepted the post of premier in a meeting with Mattarella, after which he publicly revealed the new cabinet for the first time.
On Wednesday, Draghi will be presented to the Senate, the upper house of parliament, followed by the lower Chamber of Deputies on Thursday for a confidence vote that will give the final official blessing to his government.
“Break a leg,” read the headline on La Stampa daily Saturday, as an Ipsos poll in the Corriere della Sera daily showed that 62 percent of Italians supported Draghi.