Friday, June 9, 2023

Italian PM faces close vote on his future

Must read


Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will face a close parliamentary vote on his future next week as he scrambles to find enough lawmakers to back his government after a junior partner leaves his coalition.

Mr Conte must win the support of a majority of Italian senators before a vote of confidence in the upper chamber on Tuesday after the resignation of the small Italia Viva party of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, criticizing the government’s response to the coronavirus.

The political turmoil comes as the death toll in Italy from Covid-19 has risen to over 80,000 – the second highest in Europe after the UK – and the government battles a brutal economic recession.

The ruling coalition still holds a majority in the lower house, where Mr Conte will speak on Monday, but he must win enough senators from small parties to replace the 18 lost when Mr Renzi’s party withdrew his support.

If Mr Conte loses Tuesday’s vote, he will be forced to tender his resignation to the country’s president, Sergio Mattarella.

Mr Renzi left the coalition on Wednesday after complaining for weeks that Mr Conte’s government was messing up spending plans of nearly € 200 billion in EU stimulus funds to support the affected economy by the pandemic.

While Italia Viva is tiny, the former Prime Minister controls enough senators to cast doubt on Mr Conte’s future unless he can muster the support of independent lawmakers and perhaps woo other members of the right-wing opposition party Forza Italia led by Silvio Berlusconi.

The coalition currently holds 147 out of 321 Italian Senate seats, meaning it must find at least 14 new allies to back it up on Tuesday to survive.

Several Italian media reports on Friday suggested that Mr Conte’s frantic race to find enough lawmakers to save his post as prime minister was progressing, and that government insiders were confident he would survive.

The leader of the two largest coalition parties, the Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party (PD), have both threw their support behind Mr. Conte and attacked Mr Renzi for causing political uncertainty at a time when Italy faces a serious health and economic crisis.

Mr Conte, a former law professor, was first appointed Prime Minister in 2018 as a political unknown to lead a coalition of the Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini’s League party. After the collapse of that government with the departure of Mr. Salvini in 2019, Mr. Conte remained at the head of a new coalition forged between the once bitter rivals – Five Star and the center-left PD.

If Mr Conte fails to win the confidence vote, Italy’s president is expected to allow parties in parliament to form a new government without him. It could be either a coalition largely similar to the current coalition, led by a figure of the PD or Five Star, or a broader coalition of national unity led by a technocratic prime minister and bringing together parts of the the right-wing opposition.

Both Five Star and the PD are keen to avoid the risk of an early election being called by Mr Mattarella in the event that no other coalition can be formed. National polls show that in this scenario, the Italian right, made up of the League of Mr. Salvini, the Brothers of Italy of Giorgia Meloni and Forza Italia of Mr. Berlusconi, would win more than half of the votes.

Under Italian law, Mr Mattarella’s term as president expires in February 2022, no election can take place for six months prior to that date. This means that if an election is to take place, it must take place before August of this year.


- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article