ITALY’S Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has narrowly survived a Senate vote to keep his troubled government in power as it grapples with internal disputes and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister managed to retain his power as Italy’s government hinged on the brink of collapse following the withdrawal from the coalition of Matteo Renzi’s Viva Italia party.
The Senate voted 156 to 140, with 14 abstentions, to keep Conte’s troubled government in power. However, opposition groups say they will demand President Sergio Mattarrella to force Conte to resign, as the PM comes under fire for his response to the coronavirus and his plans to spend the multi-billion euro EU relief fund allocated to Italy.
Conte, who has been Italy’s Prime Minister since 2018, urged lawmakers to support his government to give the country stability during the “historic challenge” of the Covid-19 crisis. Italy has its already debt-laden economy damaged further by the pandemic and lockdown measures.
Matteo Renzi, a former PM who recently withdrew his party from Conte’s coalition, has led calls for the government to spend the 240 billion euro recovery fund allocated to Italy by the EU on programmes to fix the country’s longstanding problems such as youth unemployment. Conte’s strategy for the fund is to pump money into pandemic affected industries and communities, which Renzi has accused of amounting to “hand-outs” without real investment.
Although the embattled Italian government has survived the Senate vote, its future remains volatile in the face of the pandemic, economic crisis, and political turmoil in Rome.
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