Mario Draghi Doesn’t Have ‘Whatever It Takes’ Anymore

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Whether as Italy’s prime minister or its president, he may not have the solution to Italy’s problems.

On Jan. 24, Italy’s parliamentarians and a caucus of regional representatives will start the process of electing a new president. What is normally an arcane domestic political game is attracting attention around the world because the race will most likely feature Mario Draghi—current Italian prime minister and former European Central Bank (ECB) boss whose famous slogan to do “whatever it takes” led the charge in saving the euro.

Today, the mood in the eurozone is calm. But Italy’s debts hang over the future of the euro as a currency. When he was first selected as prime minister nearly one year ago, many hoped that Draghi would perform the same type of transformation in Rome that he managed from his seat in Frankfurt, Germany, at the ECB. The question now is whether he will prolong his grip on power in Italy by moving from the prime ministership to the presidency.

The stakes of Italy’s presidential race extend beyond the figure of Draghi and his technocratic prowess. It would be more accurate to think of it as the latest round in the decades-long struggle to reconcile Italy’s position as a member of the inner circle of Europe—and the euro—with the shifting currents of Italian democracy. There is no guarantee, with or without Draghi at the helm, that Italy’s contradictions—and, with them, Europe’s—can still be managed.

In his former role, Draghi wielded the power of the central bank to calm the bond markets. Whether he is capable of using Rome’s available levers of political power to address the underlying problem of Italy’s inadequate growth is far less obvious.

Read the full article at Foreign Policy

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