QuoVadis Italia – Conte Version II – from inauguration to resignation

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ROME, Jan 26 (CDE) On January 26th, now caretaker prime minister Giuseppe Conte made an impassioned appeal for opposition or unaligned lawmakers in the upper house Senate to give him the backing to form a new government of “national rescue.”

Hours earlier Conte handed his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, hoping to get a fresh mandate to put together a new coalition and rebuild his parliamentary majority which collapsed last week when a junior party pulled out.

This is the chronology of CONTE II, the 66th government of the Italian Republic, the government of the Pandemic.

September 5: Conte swears in, at the Quirinale, as President of the Council of Minister, which made him the Prime Minister of the country. On September 9, the executive won the confidence of Parliament.

September 16: Renzi announces his departure from the Pd. In a few days, Italia Viva was born. The former prime minister pledges support to the government, in which he maintains three members: ministers Teresa Bellanova and Elena Bonetti and undersecretary Ivan Scalfarotto.

Autumn 2019. The period is marked by the economic challenges for the PM. These included the ArcelorMittal dossier to the issue of the revocation of Autostrade ai Benetton, where one could witness a clash between M5S and Iv.

On Christmas Eve, after a turbulent parliamentary debate, the budget law is approved.

The budget approval led to the resignation of Luciano Fioramonti from Miur, a resignation which was announced on Christmas Day. This triggered the first mini-crisis of the government.

The arrival of the virus.

The first two cases of coronavirus were identified in Rome on January 30: they were two Chinese from Wuhan. The government declares a state of emergency and closes flights from China. On February 20, the first cases of Italian nationality of Covid-19 emerged in Codogno. The government, on March 8, established the first red zone: Lombardy.

The lockdown

On March 9, the decree “I stay at home” was announced during an evening press conference broadcast on the main national TV channels which led to a national lockdown in Italy.

The measure, in the following weeks, is tightened with more decrees.

On May 4, the first production activities reopen. The contagion subsides and during summer the political controversy is all centered around two issues: that of the school and that of the contagions.

Next Generation EU.

With the release in May of the European Recovery Fund Conte launches phase 3 of the recovery. On July 21st, the EU Council gives its final approval to the Next Generation EU. But tensions between Italy and the frugal countries will continue for months to come.

Referendum.

On September 21, Conte won the Yes vote (with 69.96%) to which led to a  reduction in the number of parliament representatives, a historic M5S battle.

Second wave.

The virus didn’t subdue and the issue returned with vengeance from the end of September. Conte’s strategy is different as there is no general lockdown but a number of fluctuating closures which were dependend on the regional level of risk. “We cannot afford a new lockdown economically and socially,” states the government’s mantra.

The internal tensions already triggered in the summer by Italia Vivia on the motion of no confidence in Alfonso Bonafede. Restrictions didn’t help.

The end of Italia Viva support

In early December a delegation of the Renzi led party expressed their criticism to the Italian Recovery Plan and led to the de facto split from the governing majority. Matteo Renzi raises the bar and starts doing a number of requests which led to the withdrawal of support from the government, announced in a press conference, on the 13th. This included the withdrawal from the executive of the 2 ministers and the undersecretary within Conte’s cabinet.  

The clash between the two was further accentuated on January 19 in the Senate.

The prime minister gets a relative confidence vote with 156 votes in favor with Italia Viva  abstaining.

In the week preceeding the 26th, Conte goes to the Quirinale and asks for time to form a new coalition.

On January 26th, now caretaker prime minister Giuseppe Conte made an impassioned appeal for opposition or unaligned lawmakers in the upper house Senate to give him the backing to form a new government of “national rescue.”

Hours earlier Conte handed his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, hoping to get a fresh mandate to put together a new coalition and rebuild his parliamentary majority which collapsed last week when a junior party pulled out.

“It is time for the voices to emerge in parliament of those who care in their hearts about the future of the republic,” Conte posted on Facebook, allowing him to form a government with “a broader and more secure majority.”

Conte made similar appeals in parliament last week, but has so far had little apparent success in luring any wavering lawmakers to his government’s ranks.

NEXT STEPS

Italy’s head of state will hold two days of formal consultations this week to try to solve the country’s political crisis after Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday as prime minister.

The talks with the main parties will take place on Thursday and Friday, giving Conte some time to try to win backing to form a new government with broader parliamentary support. Here is the timetable of the consultations with the most significant groups in parliament, as issued by the office of President Sergio Mattarella:

Thursday

10.30-12.30 (0930-1130 GMT): Mixed group of unaligned senators

16.00 -16.45: Mixed group of unaligned deputies

16.45: LEU (small leftist ruling party) 17.30: Italia Viva (led by former premier Matteo Renzi) 18.30: Democratic Party

Friday

16.00: Joint delegation of the rightist opposition parties the League, Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia, and a small group of centre-right senators and deputies.

17.00: 5-Star Movement

Sources – Reuters / ANSA

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