Wednesday, March 3

Italian government under pressure for economic recovery plan | Italy


The fate of the Italian government is at stake this week amid a confrontation between Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his coalition ally and former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Renzi has repeatedly threatened to remove his small Italia Viva party from the ruling majority unless the government changes course on how to restart Italy’s fragile economy. Renzi has also asked Conte to relinquish his control over the secret services and for the government to speed up the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

Conte has so far resisted the pressure, saying last week that he was ready to face Renzi in parliament. However, Conte is reportedly organizing a meeting between party leaders, either on Monday or Tuesday, to discuss a possible reorganization of the government. The crucial day is January 7, when Conte will seek the support of ministers for the economic recovery plan, which could lead Italia Viva to leave the coalition and provoke a government crisis.

Renzi, who was prime minister from 2014 to 2016, in effect orchestrated the Conte-led coalition between the center-left Democratic Party (PD) and the Five Star Movement (M5S), after the collapse of the M5S coalition government and the distant by Matteo Salvini when we have the information. -Right in August 2019. Renzi then left the PD and established Italia Viva, which has two government ministers and draws around 3% of voters at the polls.

He told Corriere della Sera on Monday that his ministers were not in government because of “pride” but because they had ideas.

“If these ideas are not to your liking, then we are not like everyone else – we will leave our [government] seats, ”he said. “I understand that in times of populism this sounds extravagant, but you can do politics even without institutional positions.”

Renzi added that it was up to Conte to decide whether the party’s ideas on vaccines, the economy, schools and culture were “noteworthy or not.”

Renzi’s main stumbling block is the EU recovery fund, from which Italy will receive 209 billion euros, most of it among member states. He fears the opportunity will be wasted.

“I am in favor of spending it all and spending it well,” he told Il Sole 24 Ore last week. “But if someone wants to waste it, they can do it without us.”

Conte also faces a challenge from the opposition, with the far-right Brothers of Italy organizing a petition calling for a vote of confidence in the government that was signed by 100,000 Italians within a few hours. Brothers of Italy, which participates in the elections with Silvio Berlusconi’s Liga and Forza Italia, is the only party that has grown significantly in popularity over the last year. If a national vote were to take place soon, then the trio could win more than 50% of the vote.

With this in mind, and with the country still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, experts say Renzi’s maneuvers are unlikely to lead to new elections. Conte also enjoys a high level of support among Italians in polls.

“I think Renzi wants to create is a reorganization, to show that he has an independent voice that can produce change,” said Franco Pavoncello, professor of political science and president of John Cabot University in Rome. “It has a small presence in parliament and when you are in a situation of relative weakness, you need to shake things up.”

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www.theguardian.com

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