Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned from office on Tuesday, two weeks after a key coalition partner quit his government over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and an economic downturn.
According to a presidential palace statement, Conte handed his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella. Conte quit in the hope to be granted a fresh mandate by the head of state, President Sergio Mattarella, to form a new government after the coalition rupture left him without a majority in the Senate.
Mattarella is expected to hold two days of formal consultations with all the parties this week before deciding what to do next.
The president will start consultations with party leaders on Wednesday afternoon, adding that Conte had been asked to stay on in a caretaker capacity as the talks continue.
“The President of the Republic is reserving his decision and has asked the government to stay in office for the management of ordinary affairs,”Without a Senate majority, Conte would struggle to pass effective legislation at a time of crisis for the European nation, which has suffered years of political instability in addition to new economic challenges amid the pandemic.
Italy has been through several political crises since the end of World War II and has held many snap elections before sitting governments have finished their electoral terms. Conte is the country’s 66th leader in 75 years.
His coalition, which was formed in 2019, is led by the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S). Despite vast political differences, the unusual alliance prevented snap elections which could have favoured the far-right League Party.
Conte has enjoyed high approval ratings after Italy imposed Europe’s first lockdown last spring, in response to a spiraling number of Covid-19 cases and deaths. He remains Italy’s most popular politician with an approval rating above 50%, Reuters reports.