Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte hopes that the Italian president will give him the mandate to form a new government.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned from his post on Tuesday, two weeks after a key coalition partner resigned from his government over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and economic recession.
Conte, in office since June 2018, is hoping Italian President Sergio Mattarella will give him a mandate to form a new government with broader support in parliament, senior government sources said on Monday.
His resignation paved the way for formal consultations on how to overcome the political crisis, the president’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mattarella will begin consultations with party leaders on Wednesday afternoon, the statement said, adding that Conte had been asked to remain on the interim as talks continued.
But once a prime minister resigns in Italy, there is no guarantee that a new coalition can form, and there is always a risk that an early election will become the only viable solution.
Italy’s main ruling parties have warned that early elections, two years ahead of schedule, would be the only way out of the impasse unless a solution is quickly found.
‘A major crisis’
Conte survived two confidence votes in parliament last week but, with the defection of former prime minister Matteo Renzi on January 13, crucially lost control of the Senate.
The departure of Renzi’s centrist Italia Viva party hampered Conte’s administration amid the pandemic, which devastated the economy of long-stagnant Italy.
Conte initially resisted resignation and instead attempted to attract centrist and independent senators to the government ranks.
But his efforts met with little success, and lawmakers in the co-ruling Democratic Party (PD) have said he must step down.
Al Jazeera’s Steffanie Dekker, who reported from the Italian capital, Rome, said it was “almost impossible” for Conte to rule following Renzi’s departure from government.
“Tomorrow we are awaiting a vote on certain legal issues that he [Conte] we expect [his resignation] is really a preventive measure in this regard, ”she said.
Conte has no direct party affiliation but is close to the larger coalition group, the 5-star anti-establishment movement – a faction that supported Conte and rejected Renzi.
Renzi said he would return to the coalition on condition that Conte accepts a series of demands.
“A new coalition government, under Conte or another prime minister, remains the most likely outcome,” said London-based Wolfango Piccoli, co-chairman of analyst group Teneo.
Al Jazeera’s Dekker said an alternate outcome could see a technocratic government formed to rule the country until elections take place as scheduled in 2023.
“But we’re going to have to wait and see… nothing is really resolved here,” she said. “It’s a major crisis.”