ROME (Reuters) – Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte faced a cabinet shutdown on Tuesday with a small coalition partner who could bring down his government and political chaos over Italy as it involved the COVID-19 pandemic. Struggles to do.
Italia Viva, headed by former chief Mateo Renzi, has threatened to withdraw two of its ministers on various issues, including Conte’s plan to spend billions, promising to reissue the EU-battered economy has gone.
The long overdue cabinet meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 am (2030 GMT) and if Italia Viva supports it, Conte will no longer have a working majority in Parliament.
The days of back-to-back negotiations have failed to bridge differences and leaders of the main coalition parties have warned of dire consequences if Renji, eager to give a new impetus to his fringe party, acted on his threat.
“I think it will be a serious political error that will hurt Italy and that Italy’s companions will not understand,” Democratic Party (PD) chief Nicola Zingretti told Sky Italia TV. “I appeal for the return of common sense and dialogue.”
A possible scenario if Italia Viva would be for all coalition parties to come to a new agreement, which would almost certainly open the way for a larger cabinet reshuffle, with or without Conte, for Conte.
However, the biggest ruling party of the 5-Star Movement, exerting pressure on Reneeji, rejected the idea.
“If Renee is guilty of withdrawing her ministers, there cannot be another government with her and Italia Viva. Everything has a limit,” Vito Crimi told ANSA news agency.
A source in Conte’s office confirmed that the prime minister would not form a new alliance with Renezi if his ministers quit the cabinet.
Zingeretti warned that the events could soon spiral out of control, possibly triggering early elections, which the opinion poll said would lead to the victory of the opposition right-wing bloc led by Matto Salvini’s Euro-Skeptic League.
President Sergio Matarella, who will have to pilot Italy through a political crisis, said he wants both the cabinet and parliament to approve a project to use the EU recovery plan before opening cross-party consultations.
If the coalition cannot agree on a way forward, Mattarella will almost certainly try to form a government of national unity to deal with the health emergency, which has killed about 80,000 Italians, and knocked over the economic crisis.
If that failed, the only alternative would be a national vote.
(Additional reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Francesca Piscioneri; Writing by Crispian Balgam; Editing by Giles Elgood)
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