Italian Politics

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Mario Draghi accepts mandate to form new Italian government
Mario Draghi
Mario Draghi Credit: INSM (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Mario Draghi, the former European Central Bank chief, has accepted a mandate to try to form a new Italian government as the country seeks a way out of the political crisis triggered by the collapse of its most recent coalition. Draghi was summoned on Wednesday to meet Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, after ruling coalition partners failed to form a majority following Giuseppe Conte’s resignation as prime minister last week. Mattarella ruled out calling early elections, adding that a “high profile” technical government was needed to steer the country.

Draghi said on Wednesday he was confident “unity will emerge” from dialogue with political parties and parliamentary groups. However, it is unclear whether he will win the broad support needed from political forces.

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Giuseppe Conte quits as Italy's PM in tactical move
Giuseppe Conte
Giuseppe Conte Credit: G20 Argentina (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, has resigned in a tactical move aimed at maximising his chances of leading a new government.

Conte officially handed his resignation on Tuesday to the president, Sergio Mattarella, who will begin consultations with party leaders on Wednesday. Mattarella asked Conte to stay on in a caretaker capacity while talks continued.

If Mattarella believes Conte has a strong enough prospect of forming a majority, then he could be reappointed and tasked with forming a new executive with a broader coalition.

Conte’s resignation comes after he survived confidence votes in both houses of parliament last week after the former prime minister Matteo Renzi triggered a political crisis by withdrawing his small Italia Viva party from the ruling coalition. However, the confidence votes left Conte with only a slim majority and he has since failed to strengthen support.

If Conte succeeds in forming a broad coalition, it would be his third administration in less than three years.

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Giuseppe Conte wins confidence vote in Italy's senate by slim margin
Giuseppe Conte wins confidence vote in Italy's senate by slim margin
Credit: Presidency of the Italian Republic / via Wikimedia Commons

The victory ends the turmoil triggered by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, who last week yanked his small Italia Viva party from the ruling coalition, which includes the Five Star Movement (M5S) and Democratic party (PD), over disagreements about the handling of the pandemic and a post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

Conte, who has led two different administrations since 2018, was supported today by 156 lawmakers in the senate on Tuesday, with 140 voting against and 16 abstaining. Conte also won a vote of confidence in the lower house on Monday.

Thus, Italy’s prime minister, has managed to cling to power, but he will plough ahead with an even more fragile government as the country battles to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and recession.

While minority governments are nothing new in Italy, what will be unprecedented is a minority government (backed by an unwieldly coalition) attempting to lead the country out of the deepest economic crisis since the second world war in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed more than 83000 victims while also trying to create a multi-year plan to manage €209bn (£185bn) of recovery funding from the EU.

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Italian Government left without Parliamentary Majority as Matteo Renzi Pulls his Party from Ruling Coalition
Matteo Renzi
Matteo Renzi Credit: Università Ca' Foscari Venezia

The Giuseppe Conte-led administration is teetering on the brink of collapse after the former prime minister, Matteo Renzi, pulled his small Italia Viva party from the ruling coalition. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte could now either offer his resignation to the president, Sergio Mattarella, who could give him a mandate to try to forge a new alliance, or go to parliament for a vote of confidence. Other possible outcomes include Mattarella putting together a broad-based government of national unity or, failing that, calling elections.

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Mayor of Rome says she's been targeted by Mafia
Mayor of Rome says she's been targeted by Mafia
Credit: Livioandronico2013 / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, organized crime groups planned to kill her and her family after she demolished some of their illegally built villas in 2018, forcing her to live with a police escort.

Raggi stated that "we have been informed that they were planning an attack against me and my family," and that "there are parts of Rome where people come close to me to tell me to keep on fighting but then they move away because they are afraid of being seen by the clans,".