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26 JAN 2021

ROME: Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is set to tell Cabinet ministers Tuesday of his intention to step down, and then will submit his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, a statement from his office said late Monday.

Conte was forced into a government crisis after losing his parliamentary majority last week, as former Premier Matteo Renzi pulled his tiny centrist party from the fragile ruling coalition, Anadolu Agency reported.

Conte survived a key vote of confidence in the Senate last week, but got only a thin majority, further weakening his leadership and obliging him to desperately seek new allies in parliament.

The attempt to stay in power, however, failed after a few independent lawmakers and small parliamentary groups denied their support to Conte’s cabinet.

The sudden government crisis plunges Italy into further political chaos, just as the country battles a second pandemic wave and the worst economic recession since World War II.

Now Mattarella is faced with a few options. Although he holds the sole power to dissolve chambers and call new elections, this remains the least likely scenario, since he is wary of holding a general election amid a pandemic and ahead of key political decisions.

The most likely option is that Mattarella will try to use his moral suasion to help cobble together a “transition” or "national unity" government, supported by a wider majority and able to lead Italy out of the pandemic and economic emergency. -Bernama

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