Italy PM to quit on Tuesday, seeking new government

Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte to resign

Italian PM Conte to resign

From there he will go to the Quirinale to see President Sergio Mattarella, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

While Conte recently won confidence votes in both chambers of Parliament, he lost his majority in the Senate last week when the Italia Viva party left the coalition.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks in the upper house of parliament, in Rome, on January 19, 2021.

The prime minister's office said Conte will convene a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and announce his intention to resign.

The move would make it much harder for Mr Conte to pass legislation or make decisions regarding Covid-19.

This is Italy's 66th Government since World War II, and Mr Conte has been PM since 2018.

Conte has led Italy as the head of a divided centre-left coalition for 16 months.

There was no immediate comment from the prime minister's office.

Conte has no direct party affiliation but is close to the largest coalition group, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

That might include extending an olive branch of reconciliation with Mr Renzi, the man who precipitated the crisis.

His resignation comes ahead of a key vote on judicial reforms later this week, which commentators suggest the government was on course to lose.

"Afterwards, President Conte will go to the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella".

That solution would be a "new Government that would represent substantial unity of the country in a moment of emergency", or it could be a new election "to give back the [deciding] word to the Italian" voters.

By the end of February, the Italian Government must inform the European Union how it intends to spend some 200 billion euros ($315 billion) in recovery funds, focused on reforming the country's health and other institutional systems.

Prior to that, he was the independent leader of the ruling coalition between the Five Star Movement and former deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini's right-wing League party.

The ruling parties are keen to avoid snap elections, which opinion polls suggest would lead to victory for the centre-right coalition comprising Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini's far-right League party.

Conte had hoped to gather sufficient support among lawmakers from centrist parties to replace Renzi's MPs, but the numbers failed to materialize, and the vote this week was set to bring down the government.

The Democrats' leader, Nicola Zingaretti, offered support in a tweet for a new Conte government that would be "clearly pro-Europe and backed by a wide parliamentary base that would guarantee credibility and stability to face the great challenges that Italy has before it".

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