Pandemic fallout: Italian PM Giuseppe Conte resigns after losing Senate vote

WION Web Team
Rome Published: Jan 26, 2021, 05.38 PM(IST)

Italian PM Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Photograph:( AFP )

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The centrist Italia Viva party led by former premier Matteo Renzi had quit the coalition government after a row over the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis and economic recession.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte handed his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella after his government lost his majority in the upper house Senate last week.

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The Italian president's office in a statement said: "Mattarella accepted the resignation and reserves the right to decide (what to do next) and invited the government to stay in office in a caretaker capacity." 

The centrist Italia Viva party led by former premier Matteo Renzi had quit the coalition government after a row over the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis and economic recession.

 Conte had come to office in June 2018. Italy first felt the coronavirus pandemic in Europe leading to countrywide shutdown as the country slipped into a recession with several parts of the country sitll in lockdown even as the vaccination drive has slowed in recent months.

The prime minister survived a vote of confidence in parliament last week but fell short of an overall majority in the upper house, the Senate securing 156 votes to 140, however, his government fell short of winning the 161 needed for an overall majority.

Conte's ruling party comprised of the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), the Democratic Party (PD) and a smaller left parties. Conte's efforts to lure centrist and independent Senators met with little success.

Under the country's constitution, parliament cannot be dissolved in the last six months of a sitting head of state's mandate. President Sergio Mattarella's term ends in January 2022. 

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