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Economics

Super Mario Rides to Italy’s Rescue Armed With Prestige and EU Funds

A former central banker is in charge, but austerity is not on the menu.
Draghi speaks at a news conference after talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace in Rome on Feb. 3.

Draghi speaks at a news conference after talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace in Rome on Feb. 3.

Photographer: Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse/Bloomberg

After being asked to run Italy, Mario Draghi took less than a week to turn the political system on its head and boost the country’s standing in financial markets. In many ways, that’s more than outgoing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte managed in better than two years on the job.

How has he pulled it off? “He’s Draghi,” says one official involved in talks to cement a governing coalition who asked not to be named. The former head of the European Central Bank enjoys such prestige that no politician dares to challenge him openly—at least not for now.