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Italy’s Conte struggles to secure support in Senate showdown

Efforts by Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte to build a new majority in parliament after a junior partner quit his coalition floundered at the weekend as several centrist lawmakers rejected his overtures.


Earlier, Conte’s coalition partner, the leader of the party “Italia Viva” Matteo Renzi, called for radical changes to plans to reboot the economy and that Conte cede his control over the secret services. Conte last month said he was prepared to confront Renzi in parliament, and challenged him to abandon the coalition.


By pulling his party from the government, Renzi effectively stripped Conte of his majority in the Senate.


On Saturday, three senators from the UDC party said they had decided to remain within the centre-right bloc, which has called for Conte’s resignation and a snap election.


Renzi has said his 18 senators will probably abstain on Tuesday when the upper house gets to vote on Conte’s future. If they do, the coalition will likely win the vote, but fall short of an absolute majority.


Officials from the co-ruling Democratic Party (PD) said that the PD is likely to push for a cabinet reshuffle and a renegotiation of the coalition pact, regardless of what happens on Tuesday. Italia Viva has said it will to return to the coalition if it wins concessions, but the PD and its coalition ally, the 5-Star Movement, have said they want nothing more to do with Renzi, accusing him of betrayal.

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