Italy government

Italy’s government in crisis after ex-PM withdraws support

Current Italian senator, former prime minister and leader of the political party ‘Italia Viva’ (IV), Matteo Renzi holds a press conference on January 13, 2021 at the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome.

ALBERTO PIZZOLIS | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Wednesday announced his intention to withdraw his centrist party from the ruling coalition, plunging the country back into political chaos as it battles the resurgence of the coronavirus.

Speaking at a much-anticipated press conference, Renzi said two ministers from his Italia Viva party would step down. It leaves the government without a majority in parliament and on the brink of collapse.

Renzi’s party support had been essential to the survival of the coalition led by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the center-left Democratic Party.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he hoped Renzi would not remove his cabinet ministers, warning the country would not be able to figure out why the government had collapsed amid the crisis. health in progress.

The Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party had also urged Renzi to preserve the unity of the ruling government at a time when the country is trying to vaccinate citizens and prevent the economy from further deteriorating.

The southern European nation is no stranger to political strife, tension and scandal. Slender majorities in Rome have led to more than 60 governments since World War II.

However, the latest political dispute comes at a particularly painful time, with the number of coronavirus infections and deaths in Italy currently among the highest in Europe. The disagreement is over EU funds and how they will revive Italy’s economy after the pandemic.

To date, Italy has recorded 2.3 million cases of Covid-19 and 79,819 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The country’s gross domestic product is expected to fall by around 10% in 2020.