Mario Draghi, former European Central Bank (ECB) president, is set to be sworn-in as Italy’s new prime minister on Saturday after the previous centre-left coalition under premier Giuseppe Conte collapsed, reported AFP. The 73-year-old Italian economist will be charged with guiding his country through the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Born in Rome, Draghi is known for saving the euro during the financial crisis a decade ago when he said the ECB would do “whatever it takes” to protect the single currency.
The ‘Super Mario’ has spent the last 10 days assembling a broad-based coalition and on Friday night formally accepted the post of prime minister.
His cabinet comprises a mix of technocrats, veteran politicians and existing ministers. He, interestingly, has the support of a rainbow coalition ranging from leftists to Matteo Salvini’s far-right League.
Draghi was director-general of the Italian Treasury during the turbulent early 1990s when Italy was in the middle of a wave of privatisations and shaken by anti-corruption investigations that wiped out much of the political elite. Yet he never became involved in party politics.
According to a report by Politico, in a recent biography, the veteran economist said he was orphaned as a teenager and thus became adult well before his friends.
“I remember at 16 when I came back from a holiday at the seaside with a friend,” Draghi said, “and he could do whatever he wanted while I was at home with a pile of letters to attend to and bills to pay.”
Draghi studied at Rome’s La Sapienza university and continued his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the guidance of first Italian Nobel prize winner Franco Modigliani.
On his arrival in office, ‘Super Mario’ will be expected to succeed in the job immediately and help Italy navigate the pandemic and its economic fallout.