Rome (AP) – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, as a political career changer, has survived an opponent’s break in the coalition for the second time victorious.
The 56-year-old law professor put ex-prime minister Matteo Renzi in his place in the power game of EU corona aid. Following a vote of confidence barely passed on Tuesday, Conte is now looking for new helpers for his minority government in Rome. In 2019, he trumped his former Home Secretary Matteo Salvini.
Contes’ center-left alliance had struggled on Tuesday to get a majority of 156 votes in a turbulent night session in the Senate – with 140 votes against. “Now the goal is to make this majority even stronger”, tweeted the party-less Conte a little later. A week ago, Renzi’s small party Italia Viva left the coalition that had been in power since September 2019.
“A government is strong if it can count on at least 170 senators. So now we have to work to strengthen it, “Dario Franceschini, culture minister and a powerful man in the co-ruling Social Democrats (PD), told the newspaper” La Repubblica “(Mottwoch).
The government of the southern Italian Conte, which includes both the five-star movement and a left-wing mini-party like the PD, gained an absolute majority in the larger Chamber of Deputies on Monday in the first confidence vote. Most politicians of the defunct partner Italia Viva abstained.
For talks about new majorities in Rome, negotiations should take place with various pro-European forces in the center and on the left. In the anti-corona fight, the cabinet will soon have to submit important decisions through the bicameral parliament.
Conservative and right-wing opposition parties again criticized Conte’s holding on to office. Despite his partial success, he was too weak to lead Italy through the Corona crisis. Not even the media ruled out that his minority government could overthrow in the coming weeks.
The head of the right-wing Lega, Salvini, called Conte’s team on public broadcaster Rai 1 Tuesday night a “minestrone” that Italy could barely move forward. Minestrone is a colorful vegetable soup.
Conte – classified as a weak political entrant at the start in 2018 – had become one of Italy’s most popular politicians by the time of the pandemic. He also proved to be a clever tactician during the first government crisis in mid-2019, when he left Salvini in the rain, who disrupted the first center-right Conte government – in the hope of early elections. Instead, Conte was given a new assignment from Head of State Sergio Mattarella to form a government.