Dhaka     Thursday   25 February 2021

Conte resigns as Italy’s prime minister

News Desk || risingbd.com

Published: 19:14, 26 January 2021   Update: 19:23, 26 January 2021
Conte resigns as Italy’s prime minister

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy resigned on Tuesday (January 26) after weeks of political infighting, thrusting the country into renewed instability as the coronavirus pandemic ravages lives and livelihoods.

The latest political crisis caught many off guard as the country struggles to cope with the virus, which has already killed more than 85,000 in Italy. As in the rest of Europe, Italy’s immunization campaign has been held up by production delays for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. At the current pace, it would take almost five years to vaccinate the majority of Italians, according to the most recent data.

Mr. Conte is serving his second consecutive stint as prime minister — first as the head of an alliance of right-wing nationalists and populists, and then leading a coalition of populists and the center-left establishment that focused almost exclusively on the pandemic.

A change in government would likely shift attention back to issues that have been put on a back burner during the coronavirus crisis, including a more forceful crackdown on illegal immigration, which has slowed dramatically because of the virus.

Mr. Conte met with his cabinet early Tuesday before informing President Sergio Mattarella of his resignation.

Mr. Mattarella will hold consultations with parliamentary leaders on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning to determine whether Mr. Conte or someone else could garner enough support to govern, or whether early elections would be the only option.

Mr. Conte stepped down after failing to cobble together enough senators to support his government. Two weeks ago, he lost the support of Italia Viva, the political party of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

At the top of Mr. Renzi’s list of grievances was Mr. Conte’s management of the pandemic, which he said bypassed Parliament, allowing decisions to be based on the reports of unelected task forces.

Echoing Italy’s opposition parties, Mr. Renzi also blamed Mr. Conte for dragging his heels on deciding where to allocate hundreds of billions of euros in recovery funds that Italy is set to receive from the European Union. Italy has until the end of April to submit a plan.

The principal partners of Mr. Conte’s 17-month-old coalition have reiterated their support for the prime minister._The New York Times

Dhaka/AI