Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte will address the Senate on Tuesday, for the first time since his government’s junior coalition partner withdrew its support.
There is now speculation that elections may not be inevitable, as the opposition Partito Democratic (PD) has signalled its willingness to consider supporting the formation of a time-limited new government that would pass a new budget before the government goes to the poll. In turn, the senior coalition partner – the Five Star Movement (MS5) – wants to pass a law that would cut 345 seats from both chambers of parliament before the next elections.
Conte’s speech is expected to take place at 15:00 local time, followed by a visit to President Sergio Mattarella, who will now decide on whether to call new elections or deliver a mandate for the formation of a new government.
The leader of Lega and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is calling for snap elections. Salvini is willing to support the MS5 proposal for the reduction of parliamentary seats but insists elections should take place by October 2019.
As Salvini sees the prospect of an alternative government, there is now speculation that he may also abandon his insistence on snap elections. The leader of MS5, Luigi Di Maio, has accused Salvini of opportunism, as he tries to capitalize on favourable polls.
While Salvini dismisses the prospect of a new coalition government within the current parliament as “fascist” and “anti-democratic,” there is also resistance within PD and MS5.
The leader of PD Nicola Zingaretti does not appear to favour an alliance with MS5, but former prime minister Matteo Renzi is pushing for an interim government that will vote for a budget and prevent the escalation of political volatility. Citing a PD source, Reuters suggests that talks with are ongoing and progressing well.
Meanwhile, there is also resistance within MS5.
Labour minister and leader of MS5 Luigi Di Maio, the minister for relations with parliament, Riccardo Fraccaro, and justice minister Alfonso Bonafede have referred to the prospect of forming a coalition government with PD “fake news.”