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In Italy, Giuseppe Conte resigns to try to stay in place

The hypothesis has taken shape in recent days before gradually establishing itself as obvious. Then everything was clarified in a few hours, Monday January 25 in the afternoon, until the announcement of the resignation of the government, by a press release, in the early evening, the President of the Italian Council Giuseppe Conte taking note of his lack of majority. Tuesday morning, after meeting a final council of ministers, he had to leave the Chigi Palace to go to the Quirinal, in order to submit his resignation to the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella.

One year, four months and twenty days after taking office, and while the epidemic due to the coronavirus (which officially killed more than 85,000 people) is far from being stopped, “Conte 2”, the 66e government of the history of the Italian republic, ceased to exist.

In accordance with the very subtle game of Italian institutions, the initiative now falls to President Sergio Mattarella, who finds himself invested with the heavy responsibility of “piloting” the political crisis by dictating the tempo. It will be up to him to ensure the establishment of a new executive as quickly as possible, supported by the strongest possible majority. Consultations with the various group leaders of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate are due to begin on Wednesday, and the presidency has already indicated that it intends to lead them at a rapid pace. That the vacuum at the top of power sets in in such tragic hours could have disastrous consequences, both vis-à-vis Brussels and the markets.

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For Giuseppe Conte, who until the end sought to avoid this extremity, resignation had become the only possible outcome. Since the vote of confidence on Tuesday, January 19, where his government remained in the saddle with a simple relative majority in the wake of the defection of supporters of former Council President Matteo Renzi, he knew that for lack of rallies, his executive was at thank you for the slightest gust. This came in the form of two votes on justice, Wednesday in the House and Thursday in the Senate, which he had no chance of winning.

“National hello”

Rather than risk a fall which would have been fatal to him, Giueppe Conte will therefore have chosen to refuse the obstacle, and to bet on the establishment of a “Conte 3” government, presented as a work of “national salvation”. In the game ahead, his main asset is his continued popularity (he has never dropped below 50% favorable opinions since taking office in June 2018) and the fact that according to polls, more than four in 10 Italians simply do not understand the reasons for this crisis, which comes as the country, faced with decisive choices, is in dire need of institutional stability.

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