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POLITICS

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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POLITICS

Italy’s government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

Italy's new government issued a decree on Thursday to continue sending weapons to Ukraine through 2023, continuing the previous administration's policy of support to Kyiv.

Italy's government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

The decree extends to December 31, 2023 an existing authorisation for “the transfer of military means, materials and equipment to the government authorities of Ukraine,” according to a government statement.

Since taking office in October, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has repeatedly voiced her support for Kyiv while underlying the importance of the Atlantic alliance.

In her first speech to parliament, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party pledged to “continue to be a reliable partner of NATO in supporting Ukraine.”

Her predecessor Mario Draghi was a staunch supporter of Kyiv, but the issue of sending arms to Ukraine split the biggest party in parliament during his coalition government, the Five Star Movement.

That friction led to the early elections that brought Meloni to power.

Parliament now has 60 days to vote the decree into law.

READ ALSO: Outcry in Italy after Berlusconi defends Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Despite Meloni’s efforts to reassure her Western allies of Italy’s support for the EU’s and NATO’s Ukraine strategy, including sanctions on Russia, the close ties to Russia of her two coalition partners have come under scrutiny.

Both Matteo Salvini of the League party and former premier Silvio Berlusconi, who leads Forza Italia, have long enjoyed warm relations with Russia.

In October, an audio tape of Berlusconi was leaked to the media in which the former premier described how he had received a birthday present of vodka from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the tape, he also expressed concerns about sending weapons and cash to Kyiv and appeared to blame the war on Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Berlusconi later issued a statement saying his personal position on Ukraine “does not deviate” from that of Italy and the EU.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Salvini, too, has come under fire for his relations with Moscow, including a report that he dined with Russia’s ambassador to Rome just days after that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Salvini, who has criticised EU sanctions as ineffective, has long admired Putin, even wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the Russian leader’s face.

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