Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that he would resign on Tuesday (26). It is a strategy, however, to try to form a new government and stay in power.
Conte called for a meeting of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday morning, during which he will formalize his decision, taken after the departure of one of the parties that formed the government coalition.
In parliamentarism, a government can only function as long as it has a strong coalition of support in parliament. At any time, a party can leave the base in power. If this exit leaves the government with a very small number of representatives, the Prime Minister must seek another party to support him and help him approve the proposals. If there is no agreement, Parliament can be dissolved and the elections can be brought forward.
Thus, Conte will present the resignation to the Italian president, Sérgio Matterella, then ask for permission to try to form a new cabinet. In practice, the Prime Minister will have more space to offer positions to other parties wishing to enter government.
Keeping an eye on the votes of center MPs, the prime minister vowed to reshape his political agenda. He said he wanted to modernize Italy and speed up the implementation of an economic recovery plan, which was heavily affected by the recession.
The current crisis began after the small Italy Viva party of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi left the coalition. Renzi criticizes the way Conte is handling the pandemic and accuses the prime minister of centralizing decisions on how to spend the money given by the European Union to revive the country’s economy.
Conte’s management is also being criticized for its response to the pandemic. Italy was one of the countries most affected by the disease in 2020, and the crowded hospital scenes in the country were one of the symbols of the start of the Covid-19 crisis. Almost a year later, the country continues with movement restrictions to contain the spread of the disease
The resignation comes shortly before a vote on a judicial reform, expected this week, which the government was on the verge of losing.
Last week, Conte won a confidence vote, but by a narrow margin. With that, he would have to lead a minority government, which would find it difficult to approve the projects.
Conte has been in power since June 2018. He is not affiliated with any party and heads the government formed mainly by the 5 Star Movement, a legend that positions itself as an anti-system, and the center-left PD (Democratic Party).
If there is no agreement for a new government, elections will be brought forward, which were originally due to take place in just two years. However, recent political reform reduced seats in parliament by a third after the next elections. As a result, many lawmakers will not be able to re-elect, even if they are well voted. And so, they may have an additional incentive not to anticipate the vote.
Conte has already survived a radical change of government. In 2019, the right-wing nationalist party Liga left the coalition in an attempt to anticipate the elections. However, the center-left PD (Democratic Party) struck a deal with 5 stars and became part of the government.
Representatives from Italia Viva have already said they could join the coalition if their demands are met, but 5 Stars and PD have said they don’t want a new deal with Renzi, whom they accuse of treason.