Mr. Conte went in the afternoon to the Quirinal Palace to meet with the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, a highly respected figure in Italy and arbiter in the event of a government crisis. According to a press release from the presidency issued after this meeting, the Prime Minister “expressed his willingness to present the necessary political clarifications to parliament”.
In the morning, senators and deputies had also suspended their work and asked Mr. Conte to come and explain to Parliament on how he intends to get out of this political crisis. The head of government will have to make sure sooner or later that a majority is still ready to support the executive after the release of Italia Viva (IV), the party of Mr. Renzi.
This departure theoretically makes him lose the majority in the Senate, but according to Italian media a number of senators would be ready to rally the current government, while the country faces the pandemic which has already killed more than 80,000 people, coupled with a crisis economy marked by the most severe recession since the post-war period.
This would also be the path favored by the Democratic Party (PD, center left), heavyweight of the coalition with the 5 Star Movement (M5S).
According to Il Corriere della Sera, one of the main Italian newspapers, Mr. Conte’s idea would be first of all to “take his time for the good of Italy” and to adopt the main measures to support the economy before formally presenting his resignation to the President of the Republic, who could immediately give him a mandate to form a new government.
Several options are now on the table facing Mr. Conte. A new Conte government, with the same majority composed mainly of the M5S and the PD with the support of Italia Viva, remains theoretically possible but very unlikely after the vigor of the attacks of Matteo Renzi.
Another possible outcome, the one favored by the PD: a Conte government with a different majority including some independent or opposition elected officials who would make it possible to compensate for the departure of Renzi’s troops.
Finally, there remains the scenario excluding Mr. Conte, the current majority choosing a new President of the Council, or that of early elections.