22:40 GMT04 March 2021
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    GENOA (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrived in the lower chamber of the Italian parliament on Monday, where lawmakers are considering whether or not to pass a vote of confidence in the current government after two ministers stepped down last week, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

    The vote in the chamber of deputies is expected to last around eight hours. On Tuesday, Conte will face the vote of confidence in the upper house.

    In Italy, the prime minister does not need to secure an absolute majority in the parliament during the confidence vote, a simple majority would be enough. Conte is believed to have good chances to secure it in the lower house, but the situation can be much less favorable for him in the upper chamber.

    Last week, Matteo Renzi, who is a senator, former prime minister and leader of the Italia Viva party, which until now has been part of the governing coalition, announced the resignation of two of his ministers from the cabinet in protest against the economic recovery plan, or National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), promoted by Conte and adopted on Wednesday. PNRR specifies how Italy is going to administer funds that it is going to receive from the European Union’s Next Generation EU instrument.

    Technically, the majority in the upper house, which is composed of 315 elected and six senators for life, is 161 votes. However, Renzi announced on Saturday in an interview with Italian media that Italia Viva would abstain from voting. In this case, Conte will have to secure at least 152 votes in the senate in support of his government.

    The parties forming the governing coalition, excluding Italia Viva, give him 136 votes. Five senators from the group Liberi e Uguali (Free and Equal) have also expressed intention to support Conte, which gives him in total 141 secure votes. The Associative Movement of Italians Abroad (MAIE), which has four senators, is also going to be on the prime minister's side in order to avoid a crisis and new elections. It means that at least seven more votes Conte will have to find from the mixed group of senators, as center-right political forces (Brothers of Italy, Forza Italia, Lega) have already announced that they would not cooperate with center-left government and called for new elections.

    If Conte does not pass the confidence vote in the senate, the chances of which will grow if Italia Viva decides to vote instead of abstaining, he will have to resign. Then either a technical government or new elections would be the options.

    vote of confidence, Italian parliament, Giuseppe Conte, Italy
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