Italy’s Lower House Speaker has 4 days to see if coalition can be reborn

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella on Friday gave Lower House Speaker Roberto Fico an "exploratory mandate" to see if it is possible to form a new government based on the same coalition that backed outgoing Premier Giuseppe Conte's executive, ANSA reported. Fico is set to get back to Mattarella by Tuesday after talks.

Conte quit as premier on Tuesday after ex-premier Matteo Renzi's Italia Viva (IV) party triggered a political crisis in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic by pulling its support for the government. Renzi yanked its ministers in a dispute over how some €209bn in EU pandemic recovery funds will be spent.

Fico is a prominent figure in the populist 5-Star Movement, the largest party in back-to-back coalitions under Conte. He accepted what is known as an exploratory' mandate, saying: “It's a very delicate moment for the country. We're called to face it with utmost responsibility in order to give citizens the urgent answers they expect.” Hours earlier, the 5-Stars political leaders indicated they would consider working with Renzi's party if the two sides can agree on policy. Officially, Conte, a lawyer specializing in mediation, doesn't lead any party, but became premier thanks to staunch lobbying by the 5-Star Movement.

Since Conte resigned, Mattarella, as head of state, met with leaders of Italy's myriad of political parties to see who could cobble together a coalition. Elections are due in spring 2023, and center-right opposition parties had lobbied Mattarella to bring the date forward.

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