One day after ratifying the support of the country’s Congress, Giuseppe Conte, Italian Prime Minister, obtained a simple majority in the Senate, which allows him to maintain the governing coalition. Less than a week ago, two ministers of the Viva Italia party in the cabinet resigned from their positions, causing a serious political crisis in Italy.
“To all those who have the destiny of Italy in their hearts, I ask you today: help us. Help us to get out again as quickly as possible.” With these words, already used yesterday in the Upper House, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte he convinced a simple majority of 156 senators to maintain the current governing coalition and not be forced to resign.
The Governo has the trust in the Senate. Ora l’obiettivo è rendere ancora più solida questa maggioranza. L’Italia has not a minute to lose. I go up to the lavoro to overcome the health emergency and the economic crisis. Priorità a piano vaccini, Recovery Plan e dl ristori
– Giuseppe Conte (@GiuseppeConteIT) January 19, 2021
In front of the 140 senators who have opposed the executive, Conte’s support has come from his government partners: the 5 Star Movement (M5S), the Democratic Party (PD) and the Free and Equal formation. In addition, some other senators have voted in favor of the prime minister, including two members of the Viva Italia party, the party that triggered the political crisis.
During the 11 hours that the debate lasted, Conte wanted to allude to the “quality of the political project” he leads, with the aim of getting more positive votes. However, the maximum exponent of Viva Italia, Matteo Renzi, reproached him for the “need for a strong government”, adding that Conte only wants to “cast himself into power”.
Today I have intervened a piece of information that the President of the Consiglio has provided invano a smentire in reply. Qui il graph dell’Economist with official data. Not if I do not change the number with the veline di Palazzo pic.twitter.com/Sg4k6wrmrp
– Matteo Renzi (@matteorenzi) January 19, 2021
Other opposition leaders, such as the far-right Matteo Salvini, also made their position clear on the podium. “There must be elections,” snapped the leader of La Liga, who mentioned that, according to the polls, his political formation could win by forming a coalition with the Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia, two parties also of ultra-conservative ideology.
Winking at his government colleagues, Conte said he could study a possible cabinet restructuring if the vote ended favorably. In this way, the prime minister now has the dual task of meeting the demands of the other forces in the coalition.
A stability that broke the small, but key, Viva Italia party
After the criticism leveled at Conte by the leader of Viva Italia, the ministers of Agriculture and Equality resigned, sounding the alarms in the executive. Renzi criticized the management of the health crisis, as well as an inefficient handling of the funds granted by the European Union, which exceed 200,000 million euros.
This rupture occurs at a difficult time for the country, which exceeds 80,000 deaths due to Covid-19, and an economic system severely hit by the pandemic.
Matteo Renzi is not new to the world of politics. The Florentine has held various positions during his career in Italian institutions. For six months he held the rotating presidency of the European Council in 2014, while he was leader of the Democratic Party, a position he held until 2018. A year later he created Viva Italia.
It is not the first government that does not have strong backing in Italy
Italian democracy, which turns 73, has gone through many phases during its history. Of the 66 executives who have been in power, at least thirteen were supported by simple majorities. Although these governments were not very strong and only lasted one or two years.
In his case, Giuseppe Conte passed the first acid test in Congress thanks to 321 votes in favor, compared to 259 deputies who opposed. But the situation in the Senate suggests that the current Italian prime minister will have to face a context similar to that of some of his predecessors in office.
The director of the LUISS University Business School in Rome, Giovanni Orsina, predicted that the government will enter into crisis by the time the president, Sergio Matarella, concludes his term this summer.
“There will be many problems and it will be difficult to do anything,” said the teacher in a conversation with Reuters.
With EFE, Reuters and local media