Government crisis scenarios

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Together with lineup settings on the occasion of big football matches (with an unmissable post-event tactics lesson), among the most popular and widespread hobbies of Italians there is undoubtedly the decryption of political moves. A complex art in which many, with few but precious exceptions, feel like masters and whose origins go back to the mists of time.

Currently at the center of public discussion is the government crisis that threatens the future of Count II Cabinet and which is leading to the diffusion of all kinds of hypotheses about its possible ending. Formally triggered by Italia Viva leader Matteo Renzi, the current stalemate feeds on the many reasons for friction that threaten at the very heart the political cohesion of the current ruling coalition. The prospect of managing soon the great harvest of EU billions made available to our country to extract itself from the quicksand of the pandemic represents a further and above all formidable reason for infightings.

At this juncture, the former mayor of Florence is probably the most resolute political actor, obviously due to the substantial fiasco of his centrist political party project after the secession from the center-left Democratic Party a year ago. Hence for him the need to rapidly increase political influence within institutions before the end of the legislature (2023) or in the event of an unlikely early return to the polls.

On the other hand, the recent availability of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to review the structure and contents of the Recovery Plan demonstrates the need to reach a new pact with the allies to secure the future of the ruling majority and therefore defuse the Renzi threat. Given the fact that only the next few days will tell exactly what lies ahead for the tenant of Palazzo Chigi, for now it is possible to try to line up some of the crisis scenarios that are circulating, trusting in the benevolence of the above tacticians.

In the first place there is the “controlled crisis”, which would lead to the birth of a Conte III Cabinet. Its precondition is the return of harmony between the allies with a broad agreement on the structure and program of the new executive. It is a hypothesis that alarms Premier Conte since it implies his resignation in the very first place, then a new round of consultations before Head of State Sergio Mattarella and only at that point the new post to Conte himself. The other hypothesis circulating sees the birth of an executive chaired by a leading exponent of the current majority, capable of tempering the animosity of the M5S-PD-IV-LEU quartet and to carry on the government’s action.

Then there is the possibility of a targeted but not substantial cabinet reshuffle, with an agreement on the Recovery Plan contents and Conte’s renounce to secret services control, to avoid the resignation of the premier and with a subsequent confidence vote to cement the ruling coalition in Parliament. This hypothesis is supported by the PD and the M5S, but it is opposed by Italia Viva.

At this point we move from the controlled crises to open crises scenarios, triggered by the withdrawal from government of Italia Viva ministers Bellanova and Bonetti as Renzi himself has repeatedly threatened in recent weeks. Having taken note of the shattering of his own coalition, the prime minister would only have to take the way of the Chambers to “nail” Renzi to his responsibility. With two possible outcomes: government defeat in the absence of a parliamentary majority; government survival thanks to the numerical help of the so-called responsible MPs, who are the real stone guests of every Italian political crisis.

Finally, the scenario of the “institutional executive” as a consequence of Conte’s defeat and the inability of his allies to find a new political agreement, as well as the urgent need to restart Italy socially and economically after the pandemic. Among the names circulating to preside it are Marta Cartabia, former President of the Constitutional Court, and Paola Severino, Justice Minister of the Monti Cabinet. A hypothesis disliked by PD, M5S and FDI.

The alternative would be an early return to polls to avoid the emergence of botched ruling coalitions and volatile executives, clearly unable to face the crucial challenges that lie ahead Italy. Against snap elections there’s the survival instinct of the many MPs that would not be re-elected after the adoption of the constitutional reform that has reduced their numbers in Parliament. It is precisely the need for system stability that make us imagine the survival of the current government as more likely, although with some minor but wise adjustments in its team of ministers.