Italy’s Prime Minister to Quit, Adding Political Chaos To Pandemic

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy will offer his resignation on Tuesday, his office said on Monday evening, likely triggering the collapse of Italy’s teetering government and plunging the country deeper into political chaos as it faces a still-spiraling coronavirus epidemic and a halting vaccine rollout.

“Mr. Conte will go see the President, Sergio Mattarella,” following a cabinet meeting tomorrow morning, the prime minister’s office said in a statement, adding that the purpose of the visit would be “to tender his resignation.”

Mr. Conte’s resignation will put Italy back in the familiar situation of government instability, but in extraordinary times, with tens of millions of Italians struggling to stay healthy and get by under restrictions designed to reduce the country’s spread of infections.

More than 80,000 Italians have died from the coronavirus. The government, which was making slow but steady progress in vaccinating its public health workers, has hit a speed bump and threatened to sue Pfizer for a shortfall in vaccines. The political crisis has struck many Italians as unnecessary, and one of the country’s leading virologists has compared the politicians to musicians playing on the Titanic.

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