Government crisis in Italy: former Prime Minister Renzi gets out of coalition

In Italy, a government crisis has arisen as former Prime Minister Renzi has withdrawn his ministers from the coalition with the Five Star Movement and the Social Democratic Partito Democratico (PD). Renzi is dissatisfied with the Conte government‘s economic policy. Due to the departure of his small party Italia Viva, the incumbent government no longer has a majority.

In a press conference, Renzi said that there was no solution to the ongoing conflict. Among other things, he denounced the authoritarian style of politics by Prime Minister Conte.

It’s been rumbling in the Italian coalition for a long time. Renzi, who separated from the PD in 2019, turned against the corona repair plans because the government does not want to use the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), an EU emergency fund for countries in need. The former Prime Minister also felt that more money should be spent on care, culture and infrastructure.

In a modification of the plans, Renzi was given in to this last point, but the Five Star Movement refuses to withdraw billions from the ESM. The party has objections in principle to that fund, because it fears that Italy will have to be on the leash of Brussels. Prime Minister Conte supports the party in that.

Power of Conte

The two ministers sitting in the government on behalf of Renzi‘s party abstained earlier from voting on billion-dollar spending. This led to speculation in Italian media and among politicians about a fall by the Cabinet.

For a long time, the government parties seemed to come out, says correspondent Mustafa Marghadi, but the conflict continued to linger. โ€œThe popular Prime Minister Conte has attracted a lot of power to him, and that annoyed Renzi. He seemed to want to remove power from the Prime Minister with his attitude, but it seems that Renzi has overplayed his hand.โ€

In recent days, a lot of pressure has been put on Renzi to agree to the recovery plan, which involves billions of euros from the European Coronaffonds. President Mattarella, among other things, has talked about the politician because, in the middle of the coronapandemic and associated economic crisis, the country cannot afford to delay its plans.

Unclear how it goes

A fall of the Cabinet does not automatically lead to new elections in Italy. It’s up to the president to decide what needs to be done. He may be calling for a government of national unity or asking incumbent Prime Minister Conte to forge a new coalition. The Five Star Movement has already ruled out a new coalition with Renzi.

Conte has been Prime Minister of Italy since spring 2018. The nonpartisan lawyer and professor initially led a cabinet between the anti-establishment party Five Star Movement and the Right Lega. After a conflict over a high-speed line, the government collapsed and ruled the Five Star Movement further with the left-wing PD, of which Renzi was still a part.