Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is set to resign on Tuesday. The fall of Italy’s government, in office for just 17 months, is a symptom of the continuing fissures in Italian and European politics. The government’s cohesion proved illusory as soon as major decisions had to be made that went beyond managing the immediate public-health crisis. Mr Conte decided to step down after failing to hold together his governing coalition. Italy, due to receive more than €200 billion in EU funds, the equivalent of about $243 billion, is the plan’s biggest beneficiary. But Italian leaders’ inability to agree on a coherent economic strategy reduces the chances that the EU’s third-biggest economy will use the funds effectively. Covid-19 continues to kill hundreds of residents a day.
Italy’s parties are now set to negotiate in search of a new governing majority perhaps under a new premier. If no majority in Parliament can be found Italy is likely to hold elections in coming months. The fragmentation of European politics, where traditional center-right and center-left parties have suffered an erosion of their once-broad electorates, has made it harder to build majorities. Conte survived two confidence votes in Parliament last week. But he lost his governing majority in the Senate. If Conte receives the mandate to form a new majority, he would need to add five more senators to his existing coalition.