Italy looking for ways out of government crisis

The Italian parliament on Thursday summoned Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to explain the current crisis in the governing coalition before lawmakers, news agency ANSA reported.

Due to the uncertainty of the situation, parliament interrupted its Thursday session and its president, Roberto Fico, asked Conte to appear before the chamber, ANSA reported.

Italy’s government is on the brink of collapse after two ministers from former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s party, Italia Viva resigned on Wednesday over a spat to do with the European Union’s Coronavirus aid package.

Renzi’s Italia Viva party is small but key to the survival of the coalition, which also includes the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement (M5S).

Nicola Zingaretti, PD head, called a meeting with senior party leaders. On Wednesday, he sharply criticised Viva Italia’s move as a “mistake against Italy’’ on Twitter.

The M5S leadership also called a meeting.

Tensions among the parties have simmered for weeks over the use of around 210 billion euros (256 billion dollars) from the EU post-pandemic reconstruction fund.

Italian media speculated that Conte is keen to avoid new elections. He could therefore ask for a vote of confidence in parliament and try to find another coalition configuration.

A return of Italia Viva to the coalition has also not been excluded.

The next parliamentary elections in Italy are not scheduled until 2023. 

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