Released by Matteo Renzi, the government of Giuseppe Conte is without a majority

Matteo Renzi, in Rome on January 13, 2021. – Alberto Pizzoli / AP / SIPA

A political crisis has just opened up in Italy. Giuseppe Conte’s government finds itself on borrowed time after Matteo Renzi’s decision on Wednesday to withdraw his party from the ruling coalition. The Prime Minister is thus deprived of a majority in Parliament.

After weeks of criticism and threats, Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister from 2014 to 2016, announced during a press conference the resignation of the two ministers of his party Italia Viva: Teresa Bellanova (Agriculture) and Elena Bonetti (Family ). Without the 18 senators of Italia Viva, the government loses its majority in the upper house, but retains it in the Chamber of Deputies.

While the health crisis has already killed more than 80,000 people on the peninsula, Matteo Renzi criticizes the Prime Minister in particular for his management, considered to be lonely, of the pandemic and his plan to spend the more than 200 billion euros that the European Union must grant to Italy for its relaunch.

Renzi rejects alliance with Salvini

“We will not allow anyone to have full powers (…) We ask for respect for democratic rules,” said Matteo Renzi. “We have no prejudices either on the names, or on the formulas,” he added, however, seeming open to a possible new government led by Giuseppe Conte. He also at the same time excluded any support for the right-wing opposition, and in particular the League of Matteo Salvini: “We will never give life to a government with the forces of the sovereignist right that we have fought.”

During a Council of Ministers on Wednesday evening, Giuseppe Conte “deplored the significant damage that a government crisis causes to our country in the midst of a pandemic”. “These resignations were communicated to me by email and I accepted them,” said the Prime Minister, whose remarks were reported by several media.

Resignation or vote of confidence

The two heavyweights of the coalition, the 5 Star Movement (M5S, anti-system) and the Democratic Party (center left, former formation of Mr. Renzi), assured Giuseppe Conte of their support. “As the country faces a health crisis, Renzi is withdrawing his ministers. I believe that nobody understands this choice ”, denounced the leader of M5S Vito Crimi, while the assistant secretary of the PD Andrea Orlando deplored“ a serious error ”.

As for the right and the far right, they demanded in a joint statement that Conte “resign immediately or appear before parliament for a vote of confidence”. Resignation or vote of confidence, Giuseppe Conte will now have to choose.

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