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Italian government in crisis after former prime minister seeks support

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


LONDON – Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced on Wednesday that he intends to withdraw his centrist party from the ruling coalition and throw the country back into political chaos as it fights a resurgence of coronavirus.

At a highly anticipated press conference, Renzi said two ministers from his Italia Viva party would resign. It leaves the government without a majority in parliament and on the brink of collapse.

Support from Renzi̵

7;s party had been critical to the survival of the coalition led by the anti-establishment Five Star movement and the center-left Democratic Party.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he hoped Renzi would not pull his ministers out of the cabinet, warning that the country would not be able to understand why the government had collapsed in the midst of the ongoing health crisis.

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

The southern European nation is no stranger to political conflicts, tensions and scandals. Slim majorities in Rome have led to more than 60 governments since World War II.

However, the latest political controversy comes at a particularly painful time when the number of coronavirus infections and deaths in Italy is currently among the highest in Europe. The disagreement is about EU funds and how they will restart the Italian 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 decline by around 10% by 2020.

This is a news story. You can come back later for more.

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