In the midst of a pandemic, Italy is facing yet another political crisis

Giuseppe Conte must absolutely convince. Italy can hardly afford a power vacuum in the midst of the pandemic crisis. The Italian Prime Minister has scheduled an address to the deputies on Monday, January 18, before addressing the senators the next day. He must show them that he still has the cards in hand to lead the country, despite the departure of two ministers from Italia Viva, the liberal party of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

→ TO READ. Italy: Matteo Renzi jeopardizes the Conte government

This break leads to a loss of majority. Parliamentarians have therefore suspended their work since Thursday, January 14, while waiting to know how Giuseppe Conte intends to get out of this bad patch.

Under the eyes of Europe

His explanation will be particularly followed in the Senate: he is now missing a few seats, unless he can convince some elected officials to give him his confidence despite the game of parties. It will also have the full attention of the Eurogroup, which will also meet at the top this Monday, January 18. “The doubt that arises in Europe is whether Italy is able to remain in the EU as a normal country”, believes former Prime Minister Mario Monti (2011-2013) in the Corriere della Sera.

“When the EU, in a period of an exceptional pandemic, gives enormous resources to States, and more than anything to Italy, our country seems dazzled by sudden wealth and lingers in political crises”, he regrets, as if to translate the concern, in Brussels. The European Union is preparing to pay 222 billion euros in the form of loans or grants, to the aid of an Italy which is mourning more than 80,000 deaths from Covid-19, and which is experiencing the most serious recession since the after war.

Giuseppe Conte, who until now gathered around 155 faithful to the Senate, must convince at least six elected to rally to his project, even temporarily. For now, the account is not there. Sunday evening the group leaders of the majority parties were to meet. Beppe Grillo, co-founder of the Five Star Movement (M5), left no ambiguity about his support by posting a photo of him supporting Giuseppe Conte, accompanied by the keyword #ConTe (“With You”).

Small political calculations

The Democratic Party (PD), meanwhile, accuses its former leader, Matteo Renzi, of playing solo. Its Secretary – General, Nicola Zingaretti, calls on the “Democratic, liberal, pro-European sensibilities” for “Unite and converge” to promote “Revival of government action”. Meanwhile, Matteo Renzi’s supporters are raising the stakes to obtain a recomposition to their advantage of the stimulus package and the key positions linked to it. “If Conte wants it, we can fix everything in two hours. But that will not happen ”, launched Ettore Rosato, national coordinator of Italia Viva.

Giuseppe Conte refuses for the moment to give in to blackmail. If he does not obtain the confidence of the Senate on Tuesday January 19, the Prime Minister will have no other choice but to go to the Quirinal Palace to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, so that he asks him to form a new government team.

He would then be forced to include independent or opposition elected officials to compensate for the departure of Matteo Renzi’s troops. Without being the most likely scenario, the specter of a new early election – demanded by the leader of the far right, Matteo Salvini – is not completely ruled out.


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