Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Resigns

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
G20 Argentina, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has handed in his resignation letter to the head of state on Tuesday, in an escalation of the political instability that has taken over the country as it battles with the Covid-19 pandemic as well as a brutal recession. 

Conte’s centre-left government began to crumble after former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pulled his support, which dissolved Conte’s governing majority. 

On Tuesday morning, Conte held a cabinet meeting to inform his ministers of his decision and then met President Sergio Mattarella, and finally made his resignation official. 

Despite surviving two confidence votes last week, it is speculated that one of the biggest reasons for PM Conte’s resignation was the coronavirus. He had been under fire for the way he handled the pandemic as well as the economic response to the pandemic. Italy, after China, was one of the first countries to be hit hard by Covid-19. It was the first country to go into nationwide lockdown, which at first seemed helpful. Going into the summer, Italy saw a slow decline in positive cases as well as the death rate. With that, the government soon loosened restrictions and Italy fell into a second wave which caused a bigger threat. Over 85,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Italy, a country that has a population of only around 60 million people. On top of that, suffering longer than the rest of the world, it has also had to deal with the economic consequences of the pandemic, which has now put the country into a deep economic recession. 

President Sergio Mattarella will start consultations with party leaders on Wednesday afternoon, his office said in a statement, adding that Conte had been asked to stay on in a caretaker capacity as the talks continued.