2019 Italian government crisis

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2019 Italian government crisis
Giuseppe Conte Quirinale 2019.jpg
Date8 August 2019 – 5 September 2019
LocationRome, Lazio, Italy
TypeParliamentary crisis and government formation
CauseResignation of Giuseppe Conte
ParticipantsFive Star Movement
Forza Italia
Democratic Party
Brothers of Italy
Free and Equal
Mixed Group
OutcomeFormation of the Conte II Cabinet

The 2019 Italian government crisis was a political event in Italy that occurred between August and September 2019. It includes the events that follow the announcement of the Minister of the Interior and leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, that he would revoke League's support of the cabinet and ask the President of the Republic to call a snap election. This provoked the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte,[1] and resulted in the formation of a new cabinet led by Conte himself.[2]


In the 2018 Italian general election, no political group or party won an outright majority, resulting in a hung parliament.[3] On 4 March, the centre-right alliance, in which Matteo Salvini's League emerged as the main political force, won a plurality of seats in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate, while the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) led by Luigi Di Maio became the party with the largest number of votes. The centre-left coalition, led by Matteo Renzi, came third.[4] As a result, protracted negotiations were required before a new government could be formed.

The talks between the Five Star Movement and the League resulted in the proposal of the so-called "government of change" under the leadership of university professor Giuseppe Conte, a law professor close to the M5S.[5] After some bickering with President Sergio Mattarella,[6][7] Conte's cabinet, which was dubbed by the media as Western Europe's "first all-populist government", was sworn in on 1 June.[8]

Political crisis[edit]

In August 2019, Deputy Prime Minister Salvini announced a motion of no confidence against Conte, after growing tensions within the majority.[9] Salvini's move came right after a vote in the Senate regarding the progress of the Turin–Lyon high-speed railway, in which the Lega voted against an attempt of the M5S to block the construction works.[10] Many political analysts believe the no confidence motion was an attempt to force early elections to improve Lega's standing in Parliament, ensuring Salvini could become the next Prime Minister.[11][12][13] On 20 August, following the parliamentary debate in which Conte harshly accused Salvini of being a political opportunist who "had triggered the political crisis only to serve his personal interest",[14] the Prime Minister resigned his post to President Sergio Mattarella.[15]

Government formation[edit]

Conte with President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace in August 2019

On 21 August, Mattarella started the consultations with all the parliamentary groups. On the same day, the national direction of the Democratic Party (PD) officially opened to a cabinet with the Five Star Movement,[14] based on pro-Europeanism, green economy, sustainable development, fight against economic inequality and a new immigration policy.[16] However, the talks with President Mattarella resulted in an unclear outcome, thus Mattarella announced a second round of consultation for 27 or 28 August.[17]

In days that preceded the second round, a confrontation between PD and M5S started,[18] while the left-wing Free and Equal (LeU) announced that they would support a potential M5S–PD cabinet.[19] On 28 August, PD's leader Nicola Zingaretti announced at the Quirinal Palace his favorable position on forming a new government with the Five Stars with Giuseppe Conte at its head.[20] On same day, Mattarella summoned Conte to the Quirinal Palace for the 29 August to give him the task of forming a new cabinet.[21]

Approval by M5S membership[edit]

On 1 September, Five Star's founder Beppe Grillo strongly endorsed an alliance with the PD, describing it as a "unique occasion" to reform the country.[22] After two days, on 3 September, the members of the Five Star Movement voted on the so-called "Rousseau Platform" in favor of an agreement with the Democrats, under the premiership of Giuseppe Conte, with more than 79% of votes out of nearly 80,000 voters.[23]

Choice Votes %
checkY Yes 63,146 79.3%
☒N No 16,488 20.7%
Total 79,634 100.0%
Registered voters/turnout 117,194 68.0%
Sources: Associazione Rousseau

Investiture votes[edit]

On 9 September 2019 the Chamber of Deputies granted the confidence to the government with 343 votes in favour, 263 against and 3 abstentions.[24][25] On the following day the discussion on the confidence vote is scheduled in the Senate.[26]

9–10 September 2019
Investiture votes for Conte II Cabinet
House of Parliament Vote Parties Votes
Chamber of Deputies
(Voting: 609 of 630,
Majority: 304)
checkY Yes M5S, PD, LeU, CPAPPSIAC, +EuCD
343 / 609
☒N No Lega, FI, FdI, NcIUSEI
263 / 609
Abstention SVPPATT
3 / 609
Senate of the Republic
(Voting: 307 of 321,
Majority: 151)
checkY Yes M5S, PD, Aut., LeU, Ind.
169 / 307
☒N No Lega, FI, FdI, +Eu
133 / 307
Abstention Aut., Ind.
5 / 307


 European Union

 United States

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Borrelli, Silvia Sciorilli (August 20, 2019). "Italian PM Conte resigns". POLITICO.
  2. ^ Governo, Conte annuncia i ministri: Gualtieri all'Economia, Lamorgese all'Interno, Di Maio agli Esteri. Fraccaro sottosegretario alla presidenza dopo lite col capo politico M5S
  3. ^ Sala, Alessandro (2018). "Elezioni 2018: M5S primo partito, nel centrodestra la Lega supera FI".
  4. ^ "Elezioni politiche: vincono M5s e Lega. Crollo del Partito democratico. Centrodestra prima coalizione. Il Carroccio sorpassa Forza Italia". 4 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Conte says to be Italians' defence lawyer in govt of change" Archived 29 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Mattarella meets Conte, 'vetoed' Savona" Archived 29 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Conte drops govt bid" Archived 29 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Governo Conte, la lista di tutti i ministri: Salvini all’Interno e Di Maio al Welfare. Saranno vicepremier" Archived 1 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "La Lega presenta al Senato una mozione di sfiducia a Conte. M5S attacca Salvini: "Giullare"". rainews.
  10. ^ "Il Senato ha bocciato la mozione del M5S sulla TAV". Il Post (in Italian). 7 August 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  11. ^ Squires, Nick (August 9, 2019). "Italy's League files no confidence motion in prime minister in bid to trigger election". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  12. ^ "Italian Senate to set date for no-confidence vote as Salvini pushes for elections". France 24. 13 August 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  13. ^ Giuffrida, Angela (12 August 2019). "Italian senate to set date for no-confidence vote in government". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  14. ^ a b Giuffrida, Angela (August 20, 2019). "Italian PM resigns with attack on 'opportunist' Salvini". The Guardian – via www.theguardian.com.
  15. ^ Horowitz, Jason (August 20, 2019). "Italy's Government Collapses, Turning Chaos Into Crisis". The New York Times.
  16. ^ "Governo, Zingaretti: "I 5 punti per trattare con il M5S. No accordicchi, governo di svolta"". Repubblica.it. August 21, 2019.
  17. ^ "Crisi di governo, secondo giro di consultazioni al Colle". Tgcom24.
  18. ^ "Ecco l'accordo sul Conte bis: Zingaretti dà il via libera, nodo su ministeri e manovra". Fanpage.
  19. ^ "Grasso, possibile intesa M5s-Pd-Leu - Ultima Ora". Agenzia ANSA. August 19, 2019.
  20. ^ "Italy's Conte might be back at helm with Salvini shut out". Washington Post.
  21. ^ "C'è l'accordo tra M5s e Pd. Governo giallorosso ai nastri di partenza". Agi.
  22. ^ "L'appello di Grillo ai "ragazzi del Pd": "È il vostro momento"". Agi.
  23. ^ "Governo, via libera di Rousseau all'intesa M5s-Pd con il 79% dei voti. Conte domattina al Quirinale". Repubblica.it. September 3, 2019.
  24. ^ "La Camera vota la fiducia con 343 sì, il premier replica alla Camera fra le proteste. Alzata anche una sedia". Repubblica.it (in Italian). 9 September 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  25. ^ "Resoconto stenografico dell'Assemblea Seduta n. 222 di lunedì 9 settembre 2019". camera.it. Camera dei Deputati. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  26. ^ Schumacher, Elizabeth (9 September 2019). "Italy: Parliament to vote on new Conte government | DW | 09.09.2019". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  27. ^ "La lettera di Juncker a Conte: "L'Italia avrà ruolo di primo piano nelle sfide della Ue"" (in Italian). AGI. 5 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  28. ^ "Governo, tutti i ministri hanno giurato: Conte bis in carica" (in Italian). Il Corriere della Sera. 5 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  29. ^ "Lagarde, Gualtieri ministro? Bene per Italia e Ue" (in Italian). ANSA. 4 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  30. ^ Moscovici, Pierre [@pierremoscovici] (September 5, 2019). "Congratulazioni al mio amico @gualtierieurope, nuovo Ministro dell'Economia! Looking forward to seeing you in Helsinki and to working closely with you in the coming weeks. 🇮🇹 🇪🇺@MEF_GOV" (Tweet) (in Italian) – via Twitter.
  31. ^ Sassoli, David [@EP_President] (September 5, 2019). "Italy's stability is of importance to the EU. I wish the new government the best and look forward to meeting them in Brussels" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  32. ^ "Iratxe García welcomes new Italian government, which includes S&D MEP Roberto Gualtieri". Euractiv. 5 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  33. ^ Trump, Donald [@realDonaldTrump] (August 27, 2019). "Starting to look good for the highly respected Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, Giuseppe Conte. Represented Italy powerfully at the G-7. Loves his Country greatly & works well with the USA. A very talented man who will hopefully remain Prime Minister!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.