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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

Updated 35 mins ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

2 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.