Italy: Conte narrowly wins confidence vote
The withdrawal of Matteo Renzi and his party from the governing coalition will not prompt new elections in Italy for the time being. The Senate gave Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte a vote of confidence on Tuesday, and the Chamber of Deputies followed suit. With 156 votes, however, Conte fell short of an absolute majority. Commentators are both relieved and disappointed.
Conte had to haggle over every last vote, HuffPost Italia comments disapprovingly:
“The government is up to its neck in a gigantic swamp which is probably making it even more immobile than it has already been for months now. Even 161 votes, an absolute majority, would have been a serious political problem in terms of stability and cohesion. In an atmosphere poisoned by the voting process, the idea of pursuing ambitious reform plans is nothing but wishful thinking. Institutionalised haggling has reached its climax today. Parliamentarians being 'massaged' all day long, disappearing and then reappearing, wooed by calls to change their 'political stripes', and a prime minister promising heaven and earth in his efforts to seduce the undecided.”
Whatever happens, keep Salvini out
For Dagens Nyheter, a weakened Conte is the lesser evil:
“Now is probably the worst possible time to pave the way for a right-wing populist government. In the midst of the pandemic the government has been conferred with extraordinary powers. These should not end up in the hands of people who refer to themselves as 'Il Capitano' [as Lega politician Matteo Salvini does]. In the coming years the EU will pump more than 200 billion euros into Italy in the form of coronavirus funds. ... It would be sad if this money was instead used to consolidate the power of an authoritarian far-right government. There are very few good political alternatives for Italy today. The least worst of them involves keeping Salvini far away from power for the foreseeable future. ”