Enrico Letta, the head of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), gestures during an interview with Reuters about the forthcoming national election that was called after the surprise collapse of Mario Draghi's unity government, in Rome, Italy, July 25, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

That Mario Draghi would be so determined to leave – his words, uttered internally, that he had “the channel full”, could at least rival the famous “whatever it takes” of the euro bailout in terms of clear determination – caught some cold. The “Five Star Movement” had triggered the crisis, probably without really wanting to overthrow Draghi. The right camp hastened it by refusing to trust Draghi in turn. Of the major members of the ten-party coalition, only the social democratic Partito democratico (PD) wanted to keep the alliance under the ex-banker in any case.

In the meantime, however, the PD is inevitably reorganizing itself with a view to the September 25 election, for which only eight weeks of campaigning are possible, and this in the middle of a hellishly hot summer. The Social Democrats are waving the flag of an “Agenda Draghi”, although it is not entirely clear at the moment whether this refers to the political content that the outgoing prime minister laid out in front of the second chamber of parliament, the Senate, last week.

PD leader Enrico Letta has already made it clear what this means for possible coalitions that his party is willing to form: Only those who voted for Draghi in the vote of confidence in the Senate last Wednesday should be part of it. Which means: with the His party does not want five stars. The break with the M5S is “irreversible”, according to Letta.

That commitment – if it holds – could seal the already likely victory of the opposing camp, once called the centre-right but now, even according to one longtime member, the Christian Democrat Clemente Mastella, right-wing. Center and moderation should be over when Matteo Salvini’s right-wing Lega and, possibly even stronger, Georgia Meloni’s post-fascist-fascist “Fratelli d’Italia” (Brothers of Italy) set the tone.

In contrast to the more left half of the political spectrum, the right is united. The aged Silvio Berlusconi even seems to have resigned himself to a supporting role for his personal party “Forza Italia”. In addition, the partners promised the then 86-year-old that, although he had a criminal record, he would be allowed to become President of the Senate if they won the election together.

It has been looking like this radicalized right has won for some time: currently, Meloni and the brothers with Salvini’s Lega and Forza Italia have 45-48 percent. According to the Rosatellum electoral law, which has been in force since 2017, that would be enough for a majority in both houses of parliament. With the Rosatellum all but forcing coalitions, the exclusion of the Five Stars will further weaken the alternative to a far-right government.

In the last election in 2018, the stars only made it through a landslide success on their own and were able to appoint the head of government at the time. The movement is now in free fall in agreement and was further weakened by a split four weeks ago:

Co-founder and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio left the party along with about a quarter of the MPs because he wanted to keep the government under the “technician”, the non-politician Draghi and therefore did not support the demands made by M5S boss Giuseppe Conte to his address.

The determination of what is now the strongest force in the non-right camp, the PD, is above all a directional decision. While party leader Letta categorically shows the door to the Five Stars – which was elected more than four years ago by disappointed PD voters: inside and has now positioned itself strongly socially and ecologically – he wants to get long-time faithful Berlusconi on board, according to three exes -Forza Italia ministers who have just turned their backs on the old one.

Even Letta’s personal old enemy Matteo Renzi is said to be there, who didn’t overthrow a technician prime minister, but rather his own party friend, Letta, in a rather clumsy way in 2014 as prime minister in order to bring himself into office.

Last year, after Renzi’s intrigues, Giuseppe Conte had to leave the Palazzo Chigi, the seat of the prime minister. Renzi, who now divides his time between parliament and his Saudi and Qatari financiers, was himself a former PD leader and currently accounts for just 2.5 percent with his spin-off Italia viva.

It is now about much more than just the next government, wrote the philosopher Paolo Flores d’Arcais in a desperate editorial for his medium “Micromega” on Monday. It is about whether Italy’s constitution will survive the next election, which was born from the spirit of anti-fascism and has always protected Italy from the worst since 1948.

With this election, the extreme right could get a constitution-changing two-thirds majority, according to Flores d’Arcais: “The disgusting electoral law forgives nothing,” he writes in view of the fragmentation on the left: namely, if “the non-right doesn’t choose a constituency for constituency on a common candidate, the ex-neo-philo-para-fascists (and kleptomaniacs) will sweep away”. Quite apart from the fact that the centenary of Benito Mussolini’s “March on Rome” in October 1922, the beginning of the fascist dictatorship, was then celebrated by a government in the autumn – celebrated? – could become, which have their roots there.

Unless completely new brother or cockfights break out in the right-wing camp. Several media are rumored that Berlusconi and Salvini are determined, in the event of an election victory against the self-made rules, to challenge Georgia Meloni for the prime minister. Meloni has now announced that the alliance could burst on this issue.

Up until now, whoever formation in the alliance had the most votes had access to the office of prime minister. That should be Meloni and her “brothers” this time.

The two men are said to be thinking of changing the rules to prevent the sensation that the satirical blog “spinoza.it” grabbed in bitter sarcasm these days: “In September we could have the first woman as prime minister and the first black.” Black, referring to the black shirts worn by Mussolinin’s fascists, is Italy’s siglum for fascism.

Regardless of the doomsday scenarios painted for the post-Super Mario era, business in political Rome, meanwhile, goes on as before. Draghi, who stayed on at the request of President Sergio Mattarella so as not to leave the country without a leader until the elections, made his first public appearance on Tuesday.

He announced a “difficult autumn” and discussed the aid plan with the cabinet, which he had linked to the vote of confidence in parliament two weeks ago. Instead of the 12 to 13 billion euros, 14.3 billion are now to flow to companies and households to cushion the increased costs for energy and food.