Rome (AP) – In the midst of the Corona crisis, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government in Italy burst. The head of the co-ruling Italia Viva party, Matteo Renzi, announced the resignation of the two ministers appointed by his party.
These are the Minister of Agriculture Teresa Bellanova and the Minister of the Family Elena Bonetti. In addition, the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ivan Scalfarotto, is resigning.
With the departure of Renzi’s small party Italia Viva, the entire center-left government with its narrow majority in parliament is on the brink. Former Prime Minister Renzi made harsh accusations to the press. He deals with democratic rules with many measures in the fight against the corona pandemic.
The crisis has been going on for months, Renzi said. Italia Viva is not the originator. “We are not playing with the institutions,” assured the 46-year-old politician. At the same time, he made offers to negotiate how to proceed. Renzi said he was not counting on quick new elections.
The differences between Renzi and Conte recently revolved around plans to use the EU billion in aid for the Corona crisis. The independent prime minister, who is close to five stars, had his draft for the use of the billions from the EU reconstruction fund approved in the cabinet on Wednesday evening against the opposition of ministers Bellanova and Bonetti. At the meeting, both politicians reportedly demanded that Rome request money from the European rescue fund ESM. Conte always refused.
The 56-year-old lawyer said on Wednesday that he had already spoken with President Sergio Mattarella about the government crisis. The center-left alliance has been in power since September 2019. Should Prime Minister Conte or overthrow the entire government, the head of state would be instrumental in deciding how to proceed.
Renzi’s party may be small, but the government had to rely on its votes in parliament several times – especially in the Senate, the smaller of the two chambers.
Italian media suspected that Conte would want to avoid new elections. He could ask for a vote of confidence in parliament and try to find other majorities. The head of government himself said on Wednesday that he needed “a solid majority” for his government. Parliamentary elections in Italy are not expected until 2023.
In Conte’s alliance, the populist five-star movement and the Social Democrats (PD) are the main forces. In addition, there are the two small parties Italia Viva and Liberi e Uguali (The Free and Equals). Renzi had only founded his party in 2019 after leaving the PD, which he headed from 2013 to 2018.
The prime minister called a cabinet meeting late in the evening on Wednesday.