By Br. Alexis Bugnolo
UPDATE: The Government received 156 votes, 5 short of 50%, at the late hour of 10:33 P.M. Rome time of 321 senators, of which 312 were present. There were 140 opposed, the 16 remaining abstained. It seems that the 6 senators for life voted for the Government, though they rarely are present for votes at other times.
The ruling coalition in the Italian Parliament is in a crisis. Two ministers resigned last week, and called for a vote of no confidence.
Yesterday, the Government sustained a vote of confidence in the Camera — the lower house — obtaining 9 votes more than 50%.
Tonight comes the vote in the Senate. It seems that the Government will get less than 50% but still more than all voting for no confidence.
During the 11 hour debate, Matteo Salvini delivered a diatribe against Conte and his government, concluding by quoting a member of the 5 Star Movement who had said, that “Senators for life either die too young or too late”, so as to cause those Senators for live called from retirement to vote for Conte, to consider whether they are being courted for their votes out of respect or under threat.
At which quip the hall erupted in thunderous noise, applause from the opposition and violent shouting from the ruling coalition which rose to demand that the president of the Senate take the remaining time away from Salvini.
In such a case, the surviving Government in the next few days will have to make deals with the Senators who are abstaining or opposing the vote of confidence. There will be thus several votes on minor issues to see if the Government can function. If not the crisis will continue, until either the ruling coalition proves it cannot do anything in Parliament or they may personal or private concessions to individual senators to convince them to vote their coalition agenda for the next months until another crisis arrives.
This is good for the Italian people, since the decrees imposing the Scamdemic need to be converted into laws, and without at least 50% support in the Senate that cannot happen.
If the government in succeeding weeks is unable to pass any laws, then theoretically the President of the Republic will have to call upon Parliament to propose a stronger coalition or failing that, call for elections. The opposition is in a strong position, because new elections would undoubtedly bring a ruling government which was very strong and opposed to the deeds of Giuseppe Conte’s government during the Scamdemic, and that would be very perilous for many who are currently in parliament, not to mention the President of the Republic himself.
UPDATE as of 10:40 PM Rome time: Conte having survived the vote of no confidence will present himself tomorrow at the Presidency to ask the President leave to form a new cabinet. Renzi, who moved the vote of no confidence with his 2 ministers’ resignation, will now be outside the government. And Conte’s 3rd term as Prime Minister will be based on the razor thin margin of 156 to 140, with 16 senators up for grabs at any time for both factions. — This means that it is likely that the Government will enter another crisis shortly, if the opposition succeeds in recruiting the abstainers.