The head of State announced this in a short address to the country during a tense political day and after having accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Xinhua news agency reported.
Draghi’s decision to step down followed a confidence vote held in the senate on Wednesday, which the government passed but with a very thin majority because Five Star Movement, right-wing League and center-right Forza Italia parties boycotted the vote.
All three were major allies in the broad coalition that has supported Draghi’s national unity cabinet since its inception on February 13, 2021.
“I signed the decree for the dissolution of the chambers in order for new elections to be called within the 70-day deadline set by the constitution,” Mattarella said.
He explained that dissolving the parliament earlier than due was “always a last-resort choice to make” and especially when lawmakers were expected to fulfil crucial obligations.
Yet, early elections became “inevitable”, the president specified, since Wednesday’s confidence vote in the senate showed “the lack of any perspectives of creating a new majority” that could support a new government.
The outgoing cabinet will remain in office for the current affairs until a new one is formed after election. However, the president warned that the country’s many priorities needed political forces to act with sense of responsibility and in a constructive way during the short campaign.
“It is my duty to underline that the period we are facing does not allow pauses in the actions indispensable to compensate the effects of the socio-economic crisis, which is causing serious consequences for firms and families,” he noted.
“These actions are necessary to cope with the current economic difficulties” and to contain the effects of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Mattarella added.
In addition, he said the country must complete the reforms provided by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which are a pre-condition to receive a 200-billion-euro post-Covid recovery package from the European Union.
The specific date to hold the general election is expected to be announced later.