The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is facing a long weekend. After the junior partner Italia Viva to expremier Matteo Renzi left the coalition, the non-party lawyer went in search of a new majority that could secure a political future for him.
A speech by the Prime Minister before the Chamber of Deputies is planned for Monday, where he is supposed to put the vote of confidence after a debate. A vote of confidence is also planned in the Senate. Conte wants to use the weekend for political consultations and check whether he can form a new majority. To do this, he would have to pull a total of around 25 of the 630 deputies in the Chamber of Deputies and up to 18 of the 315 senators to his side. The search for defectors has already begun in Rome.
A return to the previous coalition of the five-star movement, social democrats and Renzis Italia Viva currently appears to be ruled out. Conte wants to gain time so that isolated parliamentarians can form a group of new supporters of his government. The re are likely to be a handful of MPs who are known in political jargon as “Responsabili” (responsible persons). The y are supposed to replace the lost Renzi parliamentarians.
Renzi against new elections
Renzi has meanwhile spoken out against new elections and said he would abstain from the vote of confidence in the Senate vote planned for Tuesday. Renzi is entitled to vote in the Senate, the chamber in which Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s chances of success are lower. At the same time, however, he did not rule out a return to the government alliance.
“If Conte does not get 161 votes in the Senate, there will be a new government without Conte. That is democracy. And democracy is sacred,” said Renzi in an interview with the daily newspaper “La Stampa” (Friday edition). The 46-year-old ruled out alliances with “anti-European and nationalist forces”, ie with parties from the center-right camp.
The opposition center-right alliance is observing the political negotiations in Rome critically and is calling for new elections. “In a normal country, the prime minister would have resigned long ago,” said Lega boss Matteo Salvini. He spoke out against a so-called unity government, which should lead Italy through the waves of the pandemic until the end of the legislative period in 2023.
Italian bishops criticized Renzi for breaking the coalition. Catholic associations also blamed the political leadership for the recent government crisis. With the pandemic and its economic consequences, the country is at the edge of its forces.
The government has passed the fifth support package since the start of the corona pandemic in February. With this, the cabinet wants to support those professional groups and economic sectors that are particularly hard hit by the partial lockdown that came into force in several regions at the beginning of November. Aid measures in the order of 32 billion euros are included in the package of measures. The cabinet deviates from its budget plan and is even more indebted. According to the government, the deficit as a result of the pandemic is 140 billion euros.