Italian PM Giuseppe Conte to resign amid pandemic criticism…

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday confirmed to his Cabinet that he would tender his resignation following widespread criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

He has been criticized for his handling of the covid-19 pandemic in which more than 85,000 Italians died.

Mr. Conte met President Sergio Mattarella, who may ask him to form a stronger government. Last week he lost his senate majority.

The law Professor, who headed two coalition governments since 2018, tendered his resignation to President Mattarella. And now Mr. Conte is discussing the political crisis with senate president Elisabetta Casellati.

Mr. Conte survived a vote of confidence in the lower house – the chamber of deputies, last week. He then won a senate vote, but without an absolute majority.

The confidence vote was called after former PM Matteo Renzi pulled his small, liberal Italia Viva party out of the coalition and said he would only return if Mr. Conte accepted a vote of confidence.

He objects to Mr. Conte’s plans for spending €209bn (£186bn, $254bn) of EU recovery fund – part of €750bn EU rescue for covid-19 crisis.
Mr. Renzi says EU funds should be invested in promoting sectors like digital and green technologies, and he does not want technocrats, rather than MPs deciding on the allocation.

The anti-establishment five star movement (M5S) has said it will “remain at Conte’s side”.

His resignation comes ahead of a vote on judicial reforms later this week that MPs in his coalition warned he would lose.

After resigning, Conte still hopes to return, and will now try to form a stronger government by tapping new potential coalition partners.

His remaining allies, the center-left Democratic Party and the populist 5-Star Movement, have already said they will back the former law professor.

If Conte fails to form a new governing coalition, the Italian President Mattarella could ask another candidate to try and form a new administration, or fresh elections would be called.

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