Italian government set to collapse after coalition partner pulls support over handling of coronavirus pandemic

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the launch of the next COP26 UN Climate Summit at the Scien

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the launch of the next COP26 UN Climate Summit at the Science Museum, London. - Credit: PA

Italy's government is set to collapse after key coalition ally of the prime minister pulled support over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte will meet with his cabinet before heading to the presidential palace to offer his resignation.

Conte is hoping to get president Sergio Mattarella’s support for forming a new coalition government that can steer the country through the pandemic.

The government was thrown into turmoil after Italia Viva - the junior liberal coalition party headed by former PM Matteo Renzi - dropped support.

MORE: The dark side of Italy’s Five Star movement

Conte won confidence votes in parliament last week but did not win an absolute majority - forcing him to resign to try to form a new government.

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If Mattarella disagrees, he could dissolve parliament and call for elections two years early.

The current coalition of the 5-Star Movement, Democratic Party and smaller Leu party are all hoping for a third Conte government.

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Democratic leader Nicola Zingaretti says early elections are the last thing the country needs. 

He tweeted: “With Conte for a new clearly European-centric government supported by an ample parliamentary base, that will guarantee credibility and stability to confront the challenges Italy has ahead."

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