Draghi Waives $140,000 Salary, Serving as Italian Premier Unpaid

Mario Draghi is waiving his salary as Italian prime minister as he looks to maintain the political support for his broad coalition.

Draghi will serve as premier without compensation, according to a filing on the government’s website Wednesday. The job paid 115,000 euros ($140,000) when his predecessor Giuseppe Conte held the post, although Conte opted to take only 80% of it.

The former European Central Bank president picked a mix of technocrats and politicians from across the ideological spectrum to join his government after he was asked to take over from Conte in February. He has embarked on an aggressive spending program aimed at rebooting the Italian economy in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Draghi made waves internationally in March, when he authorized blocking a shipment of AstraZeneca PLC vaccines slated for sale to Australia. But he’s also locked horns with leaders of parties within his coalition over how quickly he can reopen the economy.

League chief Matteo Salvini in particular has dogged Draghi at every turn with calls to lift restrictions sooner and ditch some of the country’s stricter curbs, including its nighttime curfew. Salvini has consistently topped Italian voter polls for the past two years but in recent months he’s seen his advantage narrow as support shifts to fellow rightist party Brothers of Italy, which opted to stay outside of the Draghi coalition.

Draghi’s center-left supporters, the Democratic Party, and the populist Five Star Movement have both been irked by the timeline for reopening and have been calling for a more cautious approach.

Populists both inside and outside the Italian government have railed against the perceived high salaries of government officials and the move could earn Draghi valuable political capital as he looks to execute his economic strategy. The premier also held positions at investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in the early 2000s.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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