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Ex-ECB's Draghi positioned to lead Italy after politics fail – CTV News

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ROME —
Former European bank chief Mario Draghi was positioned to lead what could quickly become Italy’s next government after the Italian president concluded Tuesday that squabbling political parties failed in a last-ditch effort to form a new coalition and that the nation could ill afford fresh elections while engulfed in the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Sergio Mattarella told the nation that only two options remained after the “negative outcome” from days of frantic political negotiations to re-compose the centre-left coalition that had formed the recently collapsed government of Giuseppe Conte.

The first was “a new government, able to deal with the grave present emergencies: health, social, economic financial,” said Mattarella, who is head of state. The second, he said, was immediate, early elections, a possibility that deserved careful consideration “because elections represent an exercise in democracy.”

Mattarella decided Italy quickly needed a `’government of high profile, that must not identify with any political formula” and that would be backed by political forces in the current in Parliament. He stopped short of saying who he had in mind for the premiership.

But right after his speech, a presidential palace official announced that the 73-year-old Draghi, who has been credited with saving Europe’s single currency during his tenure as European Central Bank president in 2011-2019, had been summoned to meet with Mattarella at noon Wednesday. That would give Draghi the opportunity to formally accept such a mandate.

The fragile prospects for reviving Conte’s government through a revamped political coalition disintegrated after former Premier Matteo Renzi gave a thumbs-down following days of frantic negotiations. Conte resigned last week after Renzi yanked his ministers from his tiny centrist Italy Alive party to protest what he said was the premier’s bumbling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Conte is now acting in a caretaker capacity.

Mattarella noted that after elections in 2013, it took four months to get a government in place, and after 2018 elections, five months. Repeating that would leave Italy suffering without a government in the “fullness of its functions for months, crucial, decisive, for the fight against the pandemic to utilize European funding and to face the grave social problems,” he said.

“All these concerns are well in the mind of our fellow citizens, who are asking for concrete and rapid answers to their daily problems,” the president said.

Nicknamed “Super Mario? for his work as the European Central Bank’s president during the single currency crisis, Draghi was cited throughout these last weeks of Italy’s political crisis as a possible solution if politicians couldn’t overcome personality and policy clashes for the sake of the nation.

The pandemic has devastated Italy’s long-stagnant economy and left the country with Europe’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll. The government statistical agency ISTAT reported Monday that nearly 450,000 jobs were lost in the last year.

During the last-ditch discussions that failed Tuesday, the parties in what is now Conte’s caretaker government squabbled over European Union pandemic aid and other key policy issues that were blocking formation of a more solid coalition.

Mattarella had given the collapsed coalition parties a few days to see if they could re-combine in a new government with a dependable majority in Parliament.

His call for wide support, even from the opposition for the next government, was swiftly taken up by a lawmaker from the Forza Italia opposition party of Silvio Berlusconi, the media mogul and former centre-right premier. Mara Carafagna said Mattarella’s appeal “for responsibility should spark authentic, profound reflection in whoever loves Italy and Italians and who still keeps the true sense of the world patriotism.”

Earlier, Renzi put all the blame on the failed effort on the other parties, saying, “We take note of the `nyet’ of the colleagues of the ex-coalition,” using the Russian word for “no.”

In turn, the populist 5-Star Movement, which was the main partner in back-to-back Conte governments since he came to power in 2018, contended that all Renzi wanted was more power.

“It’s obvious that the aim was to obtain more (Cabinet) posts. This was his most pressing” goal in provoking the crisis, said Vito Crimi, a 5-Star leader.

Except for Renzi, all the other leaders of the former coalition parties had thrown their public weight behind Conte for a new mandate.

In yanking his support, Renzi contended that Conte was bumbling the challenge of managing how more than 200 billion euros (about $250 billion) in EU funds and loans would be spent to help Italy recover from the pandemic’s damage, especially to the Italian economy.

The 5-Star Movement, which is close to Conte, resisted accepting billions of euros in EU loans aimed at bolstering the health system, aid the populists fear could make Italy beholden to EU dictates such as austerity measures.

Renzi had insisted that Italy should take the health system aid from Brussels.

Largely caught in the cross-fire has been the centre-left Democratic Party, which Renzi led during his 2014-2016 tenure as premier and he broke away from to start Italy Alive shortly after Conte formed his second coalition government in September 2019.

Conte’s first government, which took office in June 2018, partnered the 5-Stars with the right-wing League of Matteo Salvini. That coalition collapsed when Salvini withdrew his support in a failed manoeuvr to gain the premiership for himself. The Democrats, which then included Renzi, replaced Salvini’s forces in Conte’s second government.

Salvini had lobbied Mattarella in vain for early elections.

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In defense of office politics – Smartbrief

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(Image credit: Pexels)

“Office politics” often gets a bad rap. It’s thought of as the domain of catty gossip, shady backroom deals or sycophantic compliments reminiscent of the movies “Office Space” or “9 to 5.”

Thankfully, in real-life, office politics is often much tamer — and also unavoidable for anyone with the ambition to advance.

Why? Because, at its core, office politics is about relationships with colleagues and decision-makers. And nurturing those relationships can go a long way toward advancing your career goals.

What is office politics?

While politics is often derided as purely a popularity contest, there are actually two components — being popular and getting things done.

Let’s think about “real” politics for a moment. You can be very good at getting things done, but if you’re unpopular, you’re not going to be elected in the first place. On the other hand, if you get elected because you’re popular, but fail to accomplish anything, you’ll probably find yourself voted out in the next election.

In office politics, exactly as in “real” politics, you can often get small things done without the support of others. But the more impactful your goals, the more you need to get other people on board to make them happen.

Liked + Trusted + Respected = Influence

To have influence, colleagues need to like you, trust you and respect you.

If you’re not liked, well, that’s pretty much curtains for influencing decisions, unless you’re already the boss. It’s worth noting that to be liked, you must first be known.

If you’re liked, but not respected, you might be involved the discussion, but your view won’t carry any weight. We could call this “Charlie Brown syndrome” after the classic Peanuts character.

If you’re respected but not trusted (think of a well-qualified politician whose agenda you dislike), you may be consulted on an issue but colleagues may have misgivings about your motives.

To influence behavior and decisions in the office requires all three. Liked + Trusted + Respected = Influence.

Can office politics drive value?

Everything we do at CareerPoint is based on our philosophy that career success is driven by the value you create for your employer.

We talk about value creation by referencing eight drivers of value. You could think of these as the atomic elements of employee value. It’s a framework you could use to analyze almost anything in relation to HR or career advancement. Why? Because anything that affects your value as an employee influences both the success of your career and the success of your company.

What we know as “office politics” touches on several of these value drivers, but let’s focus on just two: Relationships and positioning.

Nurturing relationships

Of all the categories of relationships that drive value for a company, none are more significant than customer relationships. If customers like, respect and trust you, they are more likely to highly value your services, keep buying them and recommend them to others. They’re also likely to be patient with you when things go awry, as things inevitably do.

The value of customer relationships can be tremendous and long-lasting. In a law firm, a single relationship can be worth tens of millions of dollars. Relationships are so important that when a partner moves from one firm to another, they often take the relationships with them. In fact, it’s hard to think of an industry where good customer relationships can’t move the dial on company success.

This means good customer relationships are a source of influence for employees. If customers highly regard you, the business won’t want to lose you and ought to value your opinion. If, on the other hand, no customer would notice or care if you left, your influence on decisions and events will be more limited.

Positioning yourself for advancement

The value driver most closely aligned with office politics is the one we’ve named Positioning. It’s all about navigating office politics to position yourself for advancement. After all, you could be the hardest working and most valuable employee in the business but fail to secure advancement if you don’t understand the politics.

The best way to think about this is to imagine a meeting of your company’s management team. Your potential promotion is being discussed. What do you want everyone to say and do?

Obviously, you want everyone to say that you are the best choice for the role. But will they?

There’s nothing you can do at this moment. It’s too late to influence any further.

In some ways, the discussion is a culmination of everything you’ve said and done since you’ve joined the company. The decision will be made largely on how the participants feel about you and the idea of you in a new, more influential role.

This is no idle abstraction. This is exactly how most advancement decisions are made. If you want to advance, the advocacy of every person around the table is what you’re solving for in the game of office politics.

5 tips for becoming an effective office politician

Here are five quick tips you can use to help build trust, respect and likeability in your workplace.

  1. Get involved with projects and initiatives outside of your team and department whenever possible. This will help you begin to widen your network.
  2. Avoid overusing email with new connections. It’s impossible to establish a relationship over email. Use the phone or arrange a quick Zoom/Teams/Webex meeting.
  3. Aim to impress every single new person you work with, both inside and outside the organization. First impressions count and impressing people is often easier than you think.  Just be reliable, responsive and helpful. Do things faster or better than they expect.
  4. You don’t build influence by being a weathervane who simply goes along with everything, but you don’t build influence by opposing everything, either. The middle course is to articulate your position clearly, call the pros and cons as you see them, accept that others will see it differently and get on board with decisions you don’t agree with.
  5. Do favors for people when it helps them without expecting anything in return. If you are generous by nature, you will build a network of influence and appreciation, and you’ll be seen as a team player. This network will help you get things done down the line.

Remember, no matter how much you hate it, office politics is a part of office life we all have to contend with. Instead of avoiding it, put your best foot forward, take smart risks, make mistakes, and learn from them.


To find out how CareerPoint can help you and your team navigate office politics and create the win/win relationships you need to succeed, visit CareerPoint’s website today.

Originally from the west coast of Scotland, Steve McIntosh is a recovering accountant (ICAEW), HR professional (GPHR) and MBA (University of Oxford). After starting his career with global accounting firm KPMG in 1998, Steve founded offshore financial services recruitment firm CML in 2004, which he led as CEO for 16 years.

In 2020, he founded CareerPoint.com, the virtual coaching platform that helps companies and their people get ahead of the curve. With customers and coaches in more than 30 countries around the world, CareerPoint is well on its way to achieving its twofold mission to help a million young people advance in their careers and level the playing field for underrepresented groups.

McIntosh is a “zealous convert” to the value of HR as a driver of business value and the author of “The Employee Value Curve: the unifying theory of HR and career advancement helping companies and their people succeed together.“

If you liked this article, sign up for SmartBrief’s free email newsletters on HR and leadership. They’re among SmartBrief’s more than 250 industry-focused newsletters.

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Czechc Republic: President grants 103 citizens permission to join the Ukrainian military

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Prague, Czech Republic- As the war between Ukraine and Russia rages on, the Czech Republic has now become the latest country to offer military support to Ukraine.

According to the Czech Republic Presidency, President Milos Zeman has granted 103 citizens a special exemption, allowing them to join the Ukrainian military.

Some 400 volunteers had applied for a waiver with the goal of fighting for Ukraine against Russia.

The country requires special permission signed by the President and the Prime Minister to serve in a foreign military force. Otherwise, they face prosecution at home and potentially a five-year prison term.

In addition, the Defense Ministry then reviews each case individually in cooperation with the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry before forwarding the paperwork to the President’s Office for approval.

At the same time, the United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a US$39.8 billion package of military and other assistance to Ukraine.

“Ukrainian people are fighting the fight for their democracy, and in doing so, for ours as well. With this aid package, America sends a resounding message to the world of our unwavering determination to stand with the courageous people of Ukraine until victory is won,” said House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

The package is expected to provide US$6 billion for weaponry, intelligence support, training and other defence assistance to Ukrainian forces, as well as US$8.7 billion to replenish American equipment sent to the country. It will also allocate US$3.9 billion for European Command operations, including intelligence support and hardship pay for troops in the region.

In addition, Legislation also set aside US$13.9 billion for the State Department, with the bulk going toward the Economic Support Fund to help Ukraine’s government continue to function, another US$4.4 billion for emergency food assistance in Ukraine and around the world as well as US$900 million to assist Ukrainian refugees, including housing, English language, trauma and support services.

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Braid: Twin battles of Alberta in hockey and politics set for Wednesday – Calgary Herald

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There’s no certainty at all that the political fight ends Wednesday, even if Jason Kenney wins a majority

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Premier Jason Kenney’s backers sincerely hope their Battle of Alberta ends the very night the monumental Flames-Oilers version begins.

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Kenney will hold an event at Spruce Meadows for supporters, with media also attending, starting late afternoon Wednesday. The results from a vote on his leadership are expected by about 6 p.m.

“We’re anticipating a very exciting and intense evening with the eyes of the entire province glued to a bitterly contested battle, the result of which will reverberate across Alberta maybe for years to come,” says key Kenney campaigner Brock Harrison.

“Oh, and we’re also going to finally see the result of our leadership review.”

The count will come from Cynthia Moore, the UCP president, and chief returning officer Rick Orman.

Shortly after that, the Flames and the Oilers face off at the Saddledome for Game 1 of the second round of Stanley Cup playoff action.

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  1. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces construction of a major highway project in Leduc, Alberta on Thursday, May 12, 2022

    Whether Kenney wins or loses on May 18, the UCP is still headed for a showdown

  2. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks to United Conservative Party members at the party's special general meeting in Red Deer on April 9, 2022.

    Braid: The tiny, tightly controlled event that launched the Kenney leadership vote

Harrison says, “Although our results won’t be known until the early evening, we will absolutely make sure we’re all wrapped up in good time for people to settle in and watch the game.”

The unforgivable political sin for the next two weeks would be to interfere with the real Battle of Alberta.

In hockey, unlike politics, conflict is right out there on the ice. There’s a serious chance of sportsmanship breaking out, and we know it will be over by May 30 at the latest, with one team clearly the winner.

There’s no certainty at all that the political fight ends Wednesday, even if Kenney wins a majority and can technically stay on as party leader and premier.

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Brian Jean speaks to the media after being sworn in as an MLA on April 7.
Brian Jean speaks to the media after being sworn in as an MLA on April 7. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

Many of his opponents are in no mood to fall into line. New UCP member Brian Jean may not accept the result.

Other caucus members like Peter Guthrie, Angela Pitt and Leela Aheer are unlikely to reconcile with Kenney, even if he has a substantial majority.

The premier is being advised to purge the whole group from caucus, sending them to sit as Independents with already expelled members Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes.

Kenney may not follow that advice right away. Some effort at conciliation is possible.

But after all that’s been said and done in recent months — the anti-Kenney letters and comments from his own MLAs — it’s hard to imagine a sudden burst of goodwill popping up with the spring tulips.

And there’s a chance that the premier doesn’t get a majority and must resign; or that his majority is so small he would still be under extreme pressure to quit.

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One curiosity is that the political result, unlike the hockey series, is already decided and has been since May 11.

That was the cutoff date for returned mail-in ballots to reach the auditor, Deloitte Canada in Edmonton. No ballots received later were allowed.

This return mail has been examined for voter verification but the actual ballots remain in their sealed envelopes. They will be opened and counted starting the morning of May 18 — this Wednesday.

Suspicion that envelopes were improperly handled may actually have been amplified by the party’s running livestream of voter ID verification. The sight of people repeatedly opening envelopes and discarding some paper seemed mysterious.

But even Kenney opponents who did some of the work (they were allowed by the party) say there’s no way the verification could have been gamed.

Once voter ID was established, the ballot envelopes were packed into clear plastic boxes, each sealed with a unique code.

When the votes are counted Wednesday, dozens of people will be present including scrutineers from hostile UCP riding associations.

That doesn’t answer questions about membership sales, some of which are now being investigated by Elections Alberta. In today’s political climate, there’s always doubt.

That’s one reason the hockey series is so welcome. At least we’ll be absolutely sure who won.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

Twitter: @DonBraid

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