Italian government crisis deepens as Conte submits resignation

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has submitted his resignation, propelling Italy into a deeper government crisis in the wake of the ruling coalition’s break-up, dpa news reported.

Conte submitted his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, after having announced the move to his Cabinet earlier, the Quirinal Palace announced on Tuesday.

Mattarella asked the government to stay in office until a new one was formed, with negotiations to begin on Wednesday, the palace statement said.

Mattarella, who as president has the power to appoint a politician to form a new government, could still charge Conte with the task – but this time with broader backing in parliament.

Conte’s remaining coalition partners have already signalled they continue to back him. To form a new government, he would need to find additional support to form a majority.

Conte had already decided to hand in his resignation on Monday, amid the ongoing government crisis, according to the palace statement.

Conte’s minority government only narrowly survived two votes of confidence last week.

His original coalition fell apart on January 13 with the departure of former prime minister Matteo Renzi’s party Italia Viva, in a row about the use of EU aid money for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

If no majorities are found after the new negotiations, Mattarella could call an early election. This could benefit primarily Matteo Salvini’s right-wing Forza Italia, which is hoping to gain enough support to form a coalition of its own.

Another interim solution could be the creation of a technocratic government.