Italy Dives Headfirst Into Political Crisis During Pandemic

Italy Dives Headfirst Into Political Crisis During Pandemic

Conte’s ruling coalition is out—but that may not be the end for the prime minister.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte handed in his resignation on Tuesday, just one week after he barely survived a tense confidence vote in the Senate that revealed the vulnerable underbelly of his coalition government. The move has triggered a round of discussions with other party leaders to see if a new center-right coalition can be formed or a new round of national elections—the first in almost three years—will be necessary.

Many Italians already questioned why lawmakers were wrapped up in political squabbles when the country should be focusing on the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine and reducing the virus’s death toll, already at more than 85,000 people, in addition to boosting Italy’s faltering economy.

The answer, unsurprisingly, is politics—and ambition.

What brought on Conte’s resignation?

After Conte failed to secure enough parliamentary votes for the absolute majority he needed to easily pass legislation last week, Conte had hoped to shore up his coalition in the coming days instead of dissolving his government. “Now the objective is to solidify the majority,” Conte had tweeted. “We don’t have a minute to lose.”