2021 Italian government crisis

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2021 Italian government crisis
Conte Mattarella 2020.jpg
Date13 January 2021 – present
TypeParliamentary crisis
CauseWithdrawal of Italia Viva's support to Giuseppe Conte's government
ParticipantsFive Star Movement
Forza Italia
Democratic Party
Brothers of Italy
Italia Viva
Free and Equal
Mixed Group

The 2021 Italian government crisis is an ongoing political event in Italy that occurred in January 2021. It includes the events that follow the announcement of Matteo Renzi, leader of Italia Viva (IV) and former Prime Minister, that he would revoke IV's support to the government of Giuseppe Conte.[1] On 18 and 19 January, Renzi's party abstained and the government won the key confidence votes in the Chamber and in the Senate.[2]

On 26 January, Prime Minister Conte resigned from his office, prompting President Sergio Mattarella to start new consultations for the formation of a new government.

Background[edit source | edit]

In September 2019, a new government was formed between the Five Star Movement (M5S), the Democratic Party (PD) and Free and Equal (LeU), with the independent university professor, Giuseppe Conte, at its head.[3][4][5][6] However, on 16 September, a few days from the investiture vote, in an interview with la Repubblica, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced his intention to leave the PD, launching a new centrist and liberal party named Italia Viva (IV).[7][8] In the interview, he confirmed also the support to Conte's government.[9] Two ministers, Teresa Bellanova and Elena Bonetti, and one undersecretary, Ivan Scalfarotto, followed Renzi to his new movement.[10]

Political crisis[edit source | edit]

Between December 2020 and January 2021, discussions arose within the government coalition between Conte and Matteo Renzi, former Prime Minister and leader of Italia Viva.[11] Renzi called for radical changes to the government's economic recovery plans after the COVID-19 pandemic, and also demanded that Conte cede his mandate over the secret services coordination task.[12] During his end-of-year press conference, Conte declined Renzi's requests, asserting that he still had a majority in the Parliament.[13]

On 13 January, during a press conference, Renzi announced the resignation of IV's two ministers, effectively triggering the collapse of Conte's government.[14] Renzi stated: "We will not allow anyone to have full powers, we have started this government not to give them to Salvini. There is a dramatic emergency to face but it cannot be the only element that keeps the government alive. Responding to the pandemic means having the desire and need to unblock construction sites and act on industrial policies. There is a reason if Italy is the country with the highest number of deaths and GDP that collapses."[15]

During a late-night Council of Ministers, Conte heavily attacked Renzi, stating that "Italia Viva has assumed the serious responsibility of opening a government crisis. I am sincerely regretted for the considerable damage that has being produced for our country due to a government crisis in the midst of a pandemic. If a party forces its ministers to resign, the gravity of this decision cannot be diminished."[16] The Prime Minister was soon backed by the secretary of the Democratic Party, Nicola Zingaretti, who labeled the crisis as a "very serious mistake against Italy" and "an act against our country",[17] while the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, head of the democratic delegation in the government, stated: "Whoever attacks the Prime Minister, attacks the entire government and Giuseppe Conte is serving the country with passion and dedication in the most difficult moment of our republican history".[18] The Minister of Foreign Affairs and former leader of the M5S, Luigi Di Maio, described Renzi's decision as a "reckless move", asserting that Prime Minister Conte and President Sergio Mattarella are the two only pillars of Italy in a moment of uncertainty;[19] while Roberto Speranza, Minister of Health and de facto leader of Free and Equal (LeU), said that Conte "has served the country with discipline and honor", adding that LeU still supported him.[20] Moreover, many other prominent members of the cabinet like Stefano Patuanelli, Alfonso Bonafede, Vincenzo Spadafora and Riccardo Fraccaro.[21] The opposition leaders, Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, immediately asked for snap elections.[22]

On 15 January, Conte announced that he would report about the government crisis in the parliament in the following week. On that occasion, he would also seek for a confidence vote to confirm the parliamentary support for the government.[23]

Confidence vote[edit source | edit]

On 18 January 2021, the government won the vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies with 321 votes in favour, 259 against and 27 abstentions.[24][25] On the following day the government won a vote of confidence in the Senate with 156 votes in favor, 140 against and 16 abstentions;[26][27] however, the cabinet was not able to reach the absolute majority in the house.[28]

In both houses of Parliament, the Italia Viva groups abstained. The government also gained support from a few MPs who did not belong to the majority, such as three MPs from Forza Italia, one from More Europe, and others from the Mixed group.

18–19 January 2021
Confidence votes for Conte II Cabinet
House of Parliament Vote Parties Votes
Chamber of Deputies
(Voting: 607 of 630,
Majority: 290)
☑Y Yes M5S (188), PD (93), LeU (12), CD (11), Mixed GroupInd. (8), SVPPATT (4), MAIE (3), IV (1), FI (1)
321 / 607
☒N No Lega (125), FI (85), FdI (31), NcIUSEIC! (9), +EUAction (4), Mixed GroupInd. (3), APPSI (2)
259 / 607
Abstention IV (27)
27 / 607
Senate of the Republic
(Voting: 312 of 321,
Majority: 149)
☑Y Yes M5S (91), PD (35), Aut (8), Mixed GroupInd. (8), LeU (6), MAIE (4), FI (2), PSI (1), +EUAction (1)
156 / 312
☒N No Lega (62), FIUDC (49), FdI (19), Mixed GroupInd. (5), IdeAC! (3), +EUAction (2)
140 / 312
Abstention IV (16)
16 / 312

Resignation[edit source | edit]

On 26 January, after a few days of inconclusive negotiations with centrist and independent senators to regain an absolute majority in the Senate, Conte resigned as Prime Minister.[29][30][31]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. Conte offre un patto, Renzi ritira le ministre. La crisi è servita, Huffington Post Italia
  2. Italy's Conte wins Senate vote to keep fragile government afloat: final tally, Reuters
  3. "Grasso, possibile intesa M5s-Pd-Leu - Ultima Ora". Agenzia ANSA. 19 August 2019. Archived from the original on 19 August 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  4. "Conte wins crucial support for new Italian govt coalition". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 28 August 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  5. "C'è l'accordo tra M5s e Pd. Governo giallorosso ai nastri di partenza". Agi. Archived from the original on 28 August 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  6. "Governo, Conte e i ministri hanno giurato. Gentiloni in pole per successione a Moscovici". Repubblica.it. 5 September 2019. Archived from the original on 5 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  7. "Renzi lascia il Pd: "Uscire dal partito sarà un bene per tutti. Anche per Conte"". rep.repubblica.it.
  8. Politica, Redazione (17 September 2019). "Renzi: "Il nome della nuova sfida che stiamo per lanciare sarà Italia viva"". Corriere della Sera. Archived from the original on 24 September 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  9. "Matteo Renzi lascia il Pd e fonda nuovo partito: telefona a Conte e annuncia l'addio al Pd, Le ragioni della svolta in una intervista a Repubblica". Repubblica.it. 16 September 2019. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  10. "L'iniziativa. Renzi saluta il Pd e lancia "Italia viva". "Siamo 40 in Parlamento"". www.avvenire.it. 17 September 2019. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  11. A un passo dalla crisi di governo: Renzi pronto a ritirare le ministre. Ecco gli scenari possibili, Open Online
  12. Italian government totters as Conte, Renzi divide deepens, Reuters
  13. Governo, Conte sfida Renzi: “Se si sfila andiamo in aula. Sul Recovery non va bene: dobbiamo correre”, la Repubblica
  14. Meredith, Sam; Amaro, Silvia (13 January 2021). "Italy's government in crisis after former PM pulls support for ruling coalition". CNBC.com. CNBC. CNBC International. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  15. Matteo Renzi annuncia dimissioni ministre IV e attacca il governo, ANSA
  16. La crisi di governo, Conte in Cdm: "Grave responsabilità Iv, danno a Paese". Zingaretti: "Crisi con 500 morti, da Iv atto gravissimo contro l'Italia", la Repubblica
  17. Crisi di governo, Zingaretti: «Un atto gravissimo contro l'Italia». Salvini e Meloni: ora elezioni, Corriere della Sera
  18. Crisi, il governo fa quadrato intorno a Conte. Franceschini: “Un attacco a tutti noi”. Speranza: “Avanti al suo fianco”. Fraccaro: “Inconcepibile”, Il Fatto Quotidiano
  19. Di Maio: “Da Renzi gesto irresponsabile, strade divise ora”, La Stampa
  20. In questi mesi Giuseppe Conte ha servito il Paese con disciplina ed onore. Avanti al suo fianco, Roberto Speranza – Twitter
  21. Il Pd e il Movimento Cinque Stelle vogliono andare avanti con Conte, Fanpage
  22. Giorgia Meloni e Matteo Salvini: «Elezioni subito». La leader Fdi: «Governo allo sfascio», Il Messaggero
  23. "Conte cerca il voto in Aula. Ora è caccia ai 'costruttori'. Fronda nel M5s - Politica". Agenzia ANSA (in Italian). 14 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  24. Staff, Reuters (18 January 2021). "Italy PM Conte comfortably wins lower house confidence vote". Reuters. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  25. Crisi di governo, via libera della Camera alla fiducia a Conte con 321 voti. Il premier: "Strappo con Iv incancellabile". Polverini vota sì e lascia Forza Italia, la Repubblica
  26. "Italian PM Giuseppe Conte's government survives Senate confidence vote". euronews. 19 January 2021. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  27. Crisi di governo, sì del Senato alla fiducia con 156 voti. Ma scoppia il caso Ciampolillo. Sì dei forzisti Rossi e Causin. Meloni e Salvini: "Ci rivolgeremo al Colle", la Repubblica
  28. Il Senato vota la fiducia a Conte: il Governo ha la maggioranza relativa con 156 sì, Fanpage
  29. Legorano, Giovanni (25 January 2021). "Italian Prime Minister Resigns Amid Struggle Over How to Revive Economy From Covid-19". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  30. Crisi di governo, Conte si dimette: "Grazie a ogni singolo ministro". Alle 12 sale al Quirinale e spera nel 'Ter'. La regia passa a Mattarella, la Repubblica
  31. Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to resign, BBC

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