Italy’s Premier to Plough Ahead With Parliament Vote, Papers Say

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte plans to plough ahead with a parliamentary showdown this week even with the prospect of a flimsy majority, newspapers including la Repubblicareported on Sunday.

Conte may fall short of an absolute majority in the Senate on Tuesday after a plan to bring a significant number of independent and centrist senators on board to replace a junior ally failed, la Repubblica reported, without citing the source of the information. Matteo Renzi’s 18 senators will probably abstain, the former premier, who withdrew Italy Alive’s ministers from the cabinet last week, said in aninterview with Corriere della Sera, published on Sunday.

Read More: Clock Ticks for Italy’s Conte as He Braces for Senate Vote

The outcome of Conte’s quest is still uncertain. He needs about a dozen more votes in the upper house to restore an outright majority in the 321-strong upper chamber after the defection of the group led by Renzi. Italy Alive’s abstentions would be enough to let Conte’s government survive. Renzi told Corriere he’s still seeking a coalition government with the same majority backing Conte.

While Democratic Party and Five Star Movementofficials have spoken against patching things up with Renzi, governing with a minority would put key legislation in jeopardy, including budget laws. Conte could still submit his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella after surviving the Senate vote to try and forge a new and stronger government, with more time to negotiate.

Mattarella, who would oversee the process of forging a new government, has pressured Conte to ensure a quick resolution to the crisis and has insisted he must have a stable majority if he is to remain premier, officials with knowledge of the matter said. A group of centrists courted by the majority said on Saturday they wouldn’t back Conte’s government, Ansa reported, citing the UDC party.

To bring senators on board, Conte’s supporters — chiefly from the center-left Democratic Party and other centrists — have been warning of the risk of a snap election, which would likely see a center-right alliance take power, officials campaigning of behalf Conte, who asked not to be identified,said.

They’ve also argued that calling a general election in the middle of a global pandemic would damage Italy’s international credibility and risk unnerving investors and urged senators instead to focus on approving a plan to spend the windfall from the European Union’s recovery fund.

— With assistance by Chiara Albanese, and Alberto Brambilla

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