Rome (AP) – For Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte this Monday and Tuesday is about his political future.
After his government alliance is broken, the non-party attorney must face a vote of confidence in the larger of the two chambers of parliament on Monday and comment on the situation that has been in disarray for weeks.
If he survives the vote in the Chamber of Deputies, the next hurdle awaits Tuesday: another vote in the Senate, the smaller chamber. To have the full confidence of Parliament, the 56-year-old needs the approval of both houses. If Conte doesn’t survive Monday’s vote, his resignation could get closer.
The crisis had worsened in the middle of last week as two ministers from ex-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s small party Italia Viva announced their resignation. The center-left alliance Contes around the five-star movement, the Social Democrats of the Partito Democratico and the small party Liberi e Uguali (The Free and Equals) no longer had a majority. Italia Viva had withdrawn from the coalition because, among other things, Renzi did not agree to the use of billions in EU aid money for the reconstruction after the Corona crisis.
According to media reports, Conte has a good chance of gaining a majority in the Chamber of Deputies. The vote should begin after his speech at noon. When a result will be determined is difficult to say, as politicians are individually called to vote. The room has 630 seats.
The majority in the Senate is tight. There Italia Viva had always made the decisive difference with 18 votes. The Senate has 321 seats. An absolute majority is obtained with 161 votes. So far, the government has had 166 votes and now has to replace some of the Italia Viva votes, according to the newspaper “Corriere della Sera”.
The lawyer who has been in office since 2018 must therefore hope for defectors from other political camps. Some politicians from Italia Viva had already announced their trust in Conte. Votes for him could also come from parts of the center-right camp. Depending on the outcome of the vote, there are different scenarios as to how Italian politics could continue, as discussed in the media.
Conte could continue with his current cabinet or assemble a third under his leadership into a new alliance. A unity government is also possible, for which the former president of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi acts as prime minister. The scenario least favored by many so far is early elections.