Italian PM Conte to resign, seek to form new government
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will resign on Tuesday and attempt to form a new governing coalition, a government spokesperson announced.
Why it matters: Conte is easily Italy’s most popular leading politician, but he lacks a political party of his own and lost his governing majority in the Senate when a small party withdrew from the government. If he can’t cobble together a new coalition, Italy could face fresh elections.
Background: Conte was an anonymous law professor until just 2½ years ago, when he became the compromise pick to lead a coalition of two populist parties, Five Star and the League.
- He survived their divorce in 2019 to form a new government with Five Star and the center-left Democratic Party, and his stature grew during the pandemic as he ordered Europe’s first lockdown and lobbied for relief funds from the EU.
- Conte’s approval rating has ranged between 55–66% over the last year, according to Morning Consult’s tracker, making him one of the EU’s most popular leaders.
- But Italy’s fractious politics mean it’s no sure thing that he’ll be able to form a third government in three years. If he can't, the ensuing elections will be deeply unpredictable.
The big picture: Political instability is nothing new for Italy. The premiership changed hands 16 times in the 30 years before Conte took office.
Worth noting: The party that triggered the government’s collapse is led by Matteo Renzi, a former prime minister. He objects to Conte’s spending plan for the EU recovery funding.