In the end, “Super Mario” was simply cold-shouldered out of Palazzo Chigi by the party leaders who had reluctantly put him there nearly 18 months ago. Hugely respected by other governments in the European Union and beyond, and popular with Italians, Mario Draghi is both resented and disliked by many of the party leaders who had formed his “national unity” coalition. He is resented because he, like previous technocrat Italian prime ministers, was only put into the prime minister’s role thanks to their own failure to form a solid governing coalition. He is disliked because he is naturally aloof and has little time for political vanities and even less for political games. Yet his government did not really fall because he is disliked, since that has been true throughout. It fell because a general election was due soon anyway and because those who are leading in the opinion polls presumably calculated that it was better to have the vote soon before anything came along to dent their prospects of power.

By “those” is meant the three political parties that make up the right, or centre-right depending on your taste: starting with the smallest, they are Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, Matteo Salvini’s Lega (League) and Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy). Respectively, recent opinion polls have given them 7-8% of the vote, 14-15% and 22-24%. If those numbers were reflected in the vote on September 25th, and if the three parties stick to their pledge to campaign together as a coalition, then they would together almost certainly win an absolute majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. In that case, as leader of the largest party, Giorgia Meloni would be expected to become Italy’s first female prime minister. And she would be the first far-right prime minister since Benito Mussolini.

Is this likely? Well, with only two months before the election this outcome has to be considered pretty probable. Certainly, there are divisions within this right-wing coalition. Even today, Berlusconi spoke of how his “intelligence, competence and experience” was superior to that of Salvini. Leading figures have been leaving Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, potentially to join centrist groups, including Renato Brunetta, who served as Minister for Public Administration under Draghi, a post he had also held in Berlusconi’s government of 2008-11. Neither Berlusconi nor Salvini can be counted as happy that their parties have lost votes in recent years to Meloni. There could be efforts in coming weeks to pull Berlusconi himself towards a centrist alliance, and he will always be tempted by the chance to be kingmaker. But in the end, political facts are likely to win the day.

Barring a miracle on the centre-left, there is unlikely to be much of a viable coalition opposing the right, for Five Star has made itself an unacceptable partner by triggering Draghi’s fall and is anyway crumbling. Apart from Enrico Letta’s Partito Democratico (22-23% in recent polls) the other centre-left parties are fragments (Liberi e Uguali, Free and Equal; ex-Five Star’s Luigi di Maio’s Insieme per il Futuro, Together for the Future) or personal fan-clubs (Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva and Carlo Calenda’s Azione). There is unlikely to be time to alter this reality before the election.

Perhaps the one risk that the right have taken is the possibility that Letta’s PD and the centrists could profit from having been Draghi loyalists, and now from public displeasure at the election being brought forward at a time of economic, energy and geopolitical crisis. It will be a line worth trying — and worth watching for. Unlike the previous technocratic “Super Mario”, Mario Monti, Draghi has no appetite to form his own party or run for election, but that doesn’t mean he cannot be influential. Last Sunday, more than 1,000 mayors of cities and towns, from a diverse range of parties, signed a petition calling for him to stay as prime minister. So he has some political potency, even if he lost out in parliamentary politicking.

There will be time later to write more considered assessments of the Draghi government. For now, what is important to emphasise is that while his government exuded competence and can be counted as having put together and begun to execute an ambitious but also sensible programme of public investment thanks to the EU’s Next Generation Funds, they were unable to legislate for any major reforms. Laws have passed that will bring improvements to the justice system and public administration, but they cannot be counted as being transformative. Now the €190 billion question is whether the government that is elected on September 25th will maintain those modest but useful reforms, and, most importantly, will meet the European Commission’s conditions for the receipt of further tranches of the Next Generation monies (which total €190 billion, including some of Italy’s own funds, over five years). In the second half of this year, a tranche of €19 billion is now at stake, which is equivalent to 1% of GDP.

The hope must be that a Meloni government would above all want to continue to receive these big injections of money from the EU and so to get them will do, to coin a Draghi phrase, whatever it takes. Certainly, a rigorous structure of auditing and oversight has been put in place by Draghi, so that any attempt to dismantle it will immediately raise alarm bells. The right — which chiefly means Fratelli d’Italia and Lega — have chiefly made their mark in recent years by attacking immigration rather than the euro or Brussels, and their own business backers and voters will surely want the money to continue flowing. What neither party is keen on, however, is reforms to increase competition, which is part of the conditions laid down by the European Commission. They are corporatist or Italy First in their thinking, not liberal. So if there is a clash with Brussels, it might well be over that.

But let us not prejudge the outcome of the election, including about whether it will be sufficiently decisive to allow a coherent government to be formed. Let battle commence.

Subscribe to Bill Emmott’s Global View for analysis and commentary on world events, current affairs and ideas from a former editor-in-chief of The Economist with a special addiction to Japan and Italy.