Renzi opens a government crisis in Italy by withdrawing its ministers from the Conte Executive | International

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Matteo Renzi, during the press conference where he announced the resignation of his ministers.ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

The leader of Italia Viva, Matteo Renzi, has finally carried out his threat and forced the ministers of his party from the Italian coalition government to resign. The movement opens a crisis still with no way out in sight that will, in all probability, lead to the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte this week. The unknowns are many. It is even possible that the prime minister will be appointed again to head a third Executive this same legislature. But the situation in the country is extremely fragile and the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, must now begin a round of consultations to find a way out.

In 15 years, Germany has had Angela Merkel as prime minister. Italy, on the other hand, has been able to put seven prime ministers and 10 different governments into orbit. The country is used to governing itself in a perennial crisis, as Giulio Andreotti, seven-time prime minister, wrote. But Renzi's movement, which leads Italy to a new scenario of change of Executive, comes at a very delicate moment that not even the Italians can understand anymore. In the middle of a pandemic (on Wednesday more than 15,000 cases of coronavirus in the country and 507 deaths), just when the fate of almost 230,000 million euros that will arrive from the European Union to get out of the crisis, or when the country has to preside over the G-20, Italy is preparing to seek the formula for a probable third government in this legislature. “The pandemic cannot be the only reason why this government remains standing. Precisely because there is a pandemic, democratic rules must be respected. Democracy is not a reality show”Declared the leader of Italia Viva.

Renzi appeared with his ministers 45 minutes late. All Italy awaited its final verdict. Until the last minute, the President of the Republic tried to mediate so that an agreement could be reached with the Prime Minister. In fact, Conte addressed the press on the street two hours earlier and reached out for a possible reconciliation and offered a legislative pact. But Renzi's speech, very fast-paced and vehement, has been extremely harsh and has reproached the Government for dozens of problems that go far beyond what he claimed these days to break. "This Executive does not read the documents it approves," he went on to say. The problem is that Renzi knows that the majority think that he is setting the country ablaze in a situation of extreme fragility. But he defended himself: "We are not doing anything irresponsible, only that if there is a political crisis, it is faced at the political tables and not on social networks."

What happens now? Conte upped Renzi's bet on Tuesday and assured that if the Florentine toppled the government, they would not form one together again. The break was total, although later it has tried to lower the tone. Nobody dominates palace chess games in Italy like the Florentine, who played it before against Enrico Letta and Matteo Salvini. That is why the prime minister does not trust that he will be able to support him again in a third government if he resigns – as the leader of Italia Viva said – and he still believes that he can have enough support in the Senate to replace the 18 parliamentarians of the Renzi's formation. He needs about 15 votes, but Mattarella does not want them to be snipers and has asked that those who accept this role of "responsible", whether from the mixed group or from the opposition, should constitute themselves in a closed formation and under an acronym. The formula would allow Conte not to even have to resign. But there is only one precedent in history, when Berlusconi survived in 2010 the departure of the government of his ally Gianfranco Fini (National Alliance).

The reality is that right now it does not seem that there are that number of volunteers to support Conte. "But if you find them, good luck and good job," Renzi said. The former prime minister, moreover, is not willing to simply remodel the Executive. “If the political forces want to solve the problems they have on the table, let them do it now, without postponing it. Someone has to have the courage to say that the king is naked. And if you have to resign for that, it is done, "he said at a press conference. So the prime minister will probably have to resign this week and the president of the Republic will initiate a round of consultations with the parties to understand which formula may be the most appropriate: a third government with Conte at the helm, a new candidate, a technical government or an election (this seems the most remote).

The President of the Republic is very disappointed with how things have gone. Mattarella asked in his New Year's Eve message that unity be prioritized. He expressly called Renzi last weekend to request that his ministers not resign and stressed on several occasions that in no case should the country be led into a blind crisis. None of this has been addressed and now Mattarella must come into play.

Renzi has assured that he will not participate in a government in which the right is present. "We will not make any agreement with the right wing, which has a populist and sovereignist outlook on Europe." But, instead, he would support a technical government and would also be willing to do it again with Conte in exchange for a previous resignation. In other words, Conte should be reappointed in the Chambers and an Executive designed from scratch would be created. That has always been Renzi's preferred option. Especially since it would allow her to unleash her imagination and decide at the last minute whether to support Conte again.


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