Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, Resigns, Turning Chaos Into Uncertainty – The New York Times

Eager to avoid elections that would erase their representation in Parliament, the party is considering lending support to a Five Star and Democratic Party government with a more Forza Italia-friendly prime minister.

To the chagrin of Mr. Salvini, Mr. Mattarella, the head of state who is imbued with enormous powers during a government crisis, also had his motives for avoiding early elections, which the Italian Constitution says should be a last resort.

If Italy doesn’t approve budget cuts to balance out its expensive programs and extraordinary debt by Dec. 31, a financial safeguard mechanism will automatically raise value added tax on all purchases, devastating the spending power of Italian families.

If no new political majority forms, Mr. Mattarella can appeal to Parliament’s institutional powers, including the speakers of both houses, to try and form a government that can survive a confidence vote.

If such a government emerges, it would be empowered to pass a budget to avoid the tax hike. Another option is that Mr. Mattarella empowers a technical government of nonpartisan experts, which, once validated by a confidence vote, would also have the ability to pass a budget and govern.

If those options proved impossible, Mr. Mattarella could install a time-limited government to shepherd Italy through early elections, most likely in October or November, which would not have the time or latitude to prevent the tax hike.

In the meantime, Italy, already struggling financially with decreased influence abroad, finds itself in a mess of its own making.


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