Italian Prime Minister Conte has officially resigned. Now the head of state must decide how to proceed. There are several options on the table.
Rome (dpa) – Two weeks after the breakup of his governing coalition, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned to the president. The Quirinal Palace in Rome announced Tuesday.
Italy is therefore heading for a new power game in the midst of the corona pandemic and the dispute over billions in aid from the EU.
With his resignation, Conte is not necessarily written off: President Sergio Mattarella could instruct him to form a new alliance. Conte’s last remaining coalition partner wants to continue to rule with him.
Before notifying Mattarella, 56-year-old lawyer Conte had notified his cabinet of the dismissal. The first negotiations on the formation of a new government will start next Wednesday.
Mattarella initially reserved the right to decide whether Conte would be re-mandated to form a government. Mattarella’s official residence also said he had asked Conte’s government to remain in office for the time being.
Conte has been in power since June 2018. Initially, he ruled with Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League and the populists of the Five Star Movement – until the alliance disintegrated in September 2019. Then the coalition of the Five Star Movement, Social Democrats and the small parties Italia Viva and Liberi e Uguali (The Free and Equals), which existed to the end.
Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva left the center-left alliance on Jan. 13 in the dispute over the use of EU aid funds and plunged the government into crisis. A vote of confidence in parliament resulted, with the government coming through but emerging weakened. The continued maintenance of strength was on shaky legs. Conte would therefore have to look for new partners for his third cabinet, which had already proved difficult in scraping the votes for the vote of confidence.
If there is no majority for an alliance, expert government could also be compromised. This could initially maneuver the Mediterranean country through the most pressing issues, such as the submission of a plan in Brussels for significant money from the EU Reconstruction Fund. Italy urgently needs this to get the country back on track in terms of economy and infrastructure after the Corona crisis.
The other option would be to hold early elections. In fact, the residents of Italy would not be asked to vote until 2023. The elections are mainly supported by the right-wing opposition parties. Above all, Matteo Salvini expects enough votes to provide a government majority with ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative Forza Italia and right-wing Fratelli d’Italia – an option incumbent President and Social Democrat Mattarella shouldn’t do like at all.
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