Nearly half of Italian voters want Giuseppe Conte to remain PM: survey

Some 45% of Italian voters want Giuseppe Conte to stay on as prime minister, an opinion poll suggested on Thursday, after his resignation deepened the country's political crisis, news wires reported.

The IXE survey showed that 26% favoured new elections, while 11% would like the coalition government to stay in place, but under another prime minister. A further 7% of respondents said they would rather have a new centre-right coalition in power, while 11% had no opinion.

Conte was also confirmed as the country's most popular politician, with 52% of respondents expressing confidence in him.

The prime minister resigned on Tuesday after former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his small Italia Viva party from the coalition government, leaving it short of a majority in the Senate.

Since Wednesday, President Sergio Mattarella has been in talks with party leaders to seek a way out.

The main parties behind the outgoing government - the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) - have thrown their support behind Conte.

Conte hopes Mattarella will ask him to form a new government, but this depends on whether he can assemble a new ruling coalition. To keep his job, Conte either needs to make up with Renzi or win over a few opposition senators to get his majority back.

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