ROME — Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is planning to resign Tuesday, in a move that prolongs the country’s political chaos and risks complicating the coronavirus response.

Conte’s office said in a statement Monday night that Conte will inform his ministers that he is stepping down and will then meet with the country’s president, Sergio Mattarella, to “tender his resignation.”


Italian premier Giuseppe Conte is resigning Tuesday.  Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

Conte’s decision leaves Italy with no straightforward path to reestablishing a workable government, all while the country tries to handle the pandemic’s health crisis, a vaccine rollout and economic recovery spending.

There is still a chance Conte could return as prime minister of a recomposed coalition. But, just as likely, a party that had recently defected from the coalition could return to the government – with somebody else at the top. If those options fail, the country could usher in some kind of unelected unity government.

Or, Italians could be going back to the polls, where the far-right would be favored to win power.

“It is painfully complicated,” said Giovanni Orsina, the director of the school of government at Luiss Guido Carli University in Rome. He said early elections remained the “least likely” of any scenario. But anything else seemed in play.

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