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POLITICS

Nearly half of all Italian voters want Giuseppe Conte to remain PM, poll finds

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

Nearly half of all Italian voters want Giuseppe Conte to remain PM, poll finds
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The IXE survey showed that 26 percent favoured new elections, while 11 percent would like the coalition government to stay in place, but under another prime minister.

EXPLAINED: Why has Italy's prime minister resigned and what happens now?

A further seven percent of respondents said they would rather have a new centre-right coalition in power, while 11 per cent of those polled had no opinion.

Conte was also confirmed as the country's most popular politician, with 52 per cent 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.

Talks are scheduled to run until Friday.

Talks on saving the government are being held at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome. Photo: AFP

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.

PROFILE: Italy's Giuseppe Conte, from 'populist puppet' to political survivor

But to keep his job, Conte either needs to make up with Renzi or win over a few opposition senators to get his majority back.

The crisis has left Italy rudderless in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed almost 87,000 lives and caused an unprecedented recession.

Gregorio De Falco, an independent senator who has offered to support a new Conte-led cabinet, stressed the urgency of ending the political stalemate.

“The country is going through a very dangerous health emergency and a devastating economic crisis. We need to act quickly,” he said after meeting Mattarella.

The head of state was due to meet the main players of the political crisis, including the M5S, the PD, Renzi and the centre-right opposition parties, on Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Conte gave witness testimony in a case against anti-immigration League party leader Matteo Salvini, who is accused of illegally detaining migrants at sea while interior minister.

Despite the ongoing political crisis, Conte appeared before a judge seeking to decide whether Salvini, who is no longer in government, should face trial.

Member comments

  1. Salvini to face trail ,pmsl you just could not make this stuff up. Have these idiots got nothing better to do apart from waste money?

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POLITICS

Italy’s Meloni in Libya to discuss energy and migration

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrived on Saturday in the Libyan capital Tripoli for talks on energy as well as the thorny issue of migration, Libyan state media said.

Italy's Meloni in Libya to discuss energy and migration

Meloni’s trip – her second to a North African country this week – is the first by a European leader to war-battered Libya since her predecessor Mario Draghi’s visit in April 2021.

State television said the Italian premier was received by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, who heads the Tripoli-based, UN brokered Government of National Unity which is contested by a rival administration in the east.

Libya and its former colonial power Italy are key trade partners, particularly in energy, where Italian giant Eni plays a major role in tapping into Africa’s largest known oil reserves.

Meloni was accompanied by Eni chief Claudio Descalzi, who is expected to sign a deal with Libya’s National Oil Company to develop two Libyan offshore gas fields.

Eni will invest $8 million in the two fields, NOC chief Farhat Bengdara said in televised remarks this week, adding they are expected to produce 850 million cubic metres of gas.

Meloni visited Algeria on Monday seeking supply deals from Africa’s top gas exporter to help reduce reliance on Russia after it invaded Ukraine last year.

During her trip to Libya, she is also expected to discuss the issue of migration amid rising numbers of irregular migrants from Libya to Italy.

Libya has been wracked by years of conflict and division since a NATO-backed revolt toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The country is a conduit for thousands of people each year fleeing conflict and poverty across Africa, seeking refuge across the Mediterranean in Europe.

Meloni’s far-right government took office in October, vowing to stop migrant landings in Italy, which reached more than 105,000 in 2022.

The central Mediterranean route is considered the world’s most treacherous, according to the International Organization for Migration, which estimated that 1,377 migrants had disappeared on that route last year.

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