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Italian PM Giuseppe Conte resigns amid political crisis

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte submitted his resignation on Tuesday to President Sergio Mattarella, in a bid to form a new, stronger government after weeks of political turmoil.

Italian PM Giuseppe Conte resigns amid political crisis
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte leaves the Quirinale presidential palace by car after submitting his resignation on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
Conte tendered his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, the ultimate arbiter of Italian political crises, who invited him to stay on in a caretaker
capacity pending discussions on what happens next.
 
 
The uneasy coalition government that has led Italy since September 2019 was fatally weakened earlier this month when former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his small Italia Viva party.
 
Ahead of a key vote in parliament this week that he looked set to lose, Conte informed his cabinet on Tuesday that he would quit in what supporters said was a tactical move to form a new government.
 
After the meeting with Mattarella, a spokesman for the president said he “reserves the right to decide (what to do next) and invited the government to
stay in office in a caretaker capacity”.
 
Mattarella will open discussions with party leaders on Wednesday afternoon which are likely to lead into Thursday — leaving a vacuum at the top of government during the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis.
 
Conte is expected to seek a new mandate for what would be his third consecutive government in three years, but this depends on his ability to
expand his parliamentary majority.
 
He can currently count on the populist Five Star Movement, the centre-left Democratic Party and the smaller leftist Free and Equals party.
 
Nicola Zingaretti, leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the other main partner in the coalition, so far is backing Conte.
 
He tweeted that he was “with Conte for a new government that is clearly pro-European and supported by a broad parliamentary base”.

But other lawmakers will be needed to form a viable new government, and “it is currently unclear whether Conte can succeed in such an effort”, analyst Wolfango Piccoli noted.

 
If he cannot, the M5S and PD could “ditch Conte and look for another candidate” to head a new coalition government.

They are keen to avoid snap elections, which opinion polls suggest would lead to victory for the centre-right coalition comprising billionaire former
premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini's right-wing populist League party.

Member comments

  1. You have got to love Italian politics, the Lefties do not want an election as they know the people will not vote them back in , incredible.

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COST OF LIVING

Fuel tax cut and help with energy bills: Italy approves inflation aid package

Italy on Thursday night approved new measures worth around 17 billion euros ($17.4 billion) to help families and businesses manage the surging cost of fuel and essentials.

Fuel tax cut and help with energy bills: Italy approves inflation aid package

As expected, the final version of the ‘aiuti-bis‘ decree provides another extension to the existing 30-cents-per-litre cut to fuel duty, more help with energy bills, and a tax cut for workers earning under 35,000 euros a year.

The package also includes further funding for mental health treatment: there’s another 15 million euros for the recently-introduced ‘psychologist bonus’ on top of the 10 million previously allocated.

READ ALSO: What is Italy doing to cut the rising cost of living?

There are also measures to help agricultural firms deal with this year’s severe drought.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi described the new package as an intervention “of incredible proportions”, which corresponds to “a little over 2 points of national GDP”.

However, he said, no changes were made to the national budget to pave the way for the new measures.

The measures will be funded with 14.3 billion euros in higher-than-expected tax revenues this year, and the deployment of funds that have not yet been spent, Economy and Finance Minister Daniele Franco said.

Italy has already budgeted some 35 billion euros since January to soften the impact of rising fuel costs.

The decree is one of the last major acts by outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi before an early general election next month.

Elections are set for September 25th but the former European Central Bank chief is staying on in a caretaker role until a new government is formed.

Draghi said the Italian economy was performing better than expected, citing the International Monetary Fund’s estimate of three percent for 2022.

“They say that in 2022, we will grow more than Germany, than France, than the average of the eurozone, more than the United States,” he told a press conference.

But he noted the many problems facing Italy, “from the high cost of living, to inflation, the rise in energy prices and other materials, to supply difficulties, widespread insecurity and, of course political insecurity”.

Inflation hit 8 percent in Italy in June – the most severe spike the country has experienced since 1976.

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