Italy PM Conte to Resign on Tuesday, Seek Fresh Mandate

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will hand in his resignation to the head of state on Tuesday after a morning cabinet meeting to inform his ministers, Conte’s office said.

The prime minister, who has been in office since June 2018, hopes President Sergio Mattarella will give him a mandate to form a new government with broader backing in parliament, senior government sources said.

Conte lost his majority in the upper house Senate last week, when the centrist Italia Viva party led by former premier Matteo Renzi quit the coalition in a row over the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and economic recession.

Conte’s efforts to lure centrist and independent senators to the government’s ranks have met little success.

The cabinet is convened for 9 a.m. (0800 GMT), at which Conte “will inform his ministers of his intention to resign. He will then go to see President Sergio Mattarella,” the cabinet office statement said.

Italy has had 66 governments since World War Two and administrations are regularly ripped up and then pieced back together in tortuous, behind-the-scenes talks that open the way for cabinet reshuffles and policy reviews.

However, once a prime minister resigns, there is no guarantee that a new coalition can form, and always a risk that early elections might end up as the only viable solution.

Earlier, lawmakers in the prime minister’s own coalition warned he would face defeat in parliament this week in a vote over a contested report on the justice system, which could only be averted by handing his resignation.