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Conte gesticulates as he discusses the political crisis before the Senate. Photo: Roberto Monaldo/Getty Images

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.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.