Italian Leftist Government Faces Challenges, Could Collapse in January

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says the government will keep its high-spending budget but ensure the deficit target worrying Brussels will not be breached

The Italian leftist coalition of the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Democratic Party (PD) faces several high-profile events in January that could lead to the collapse of the coalition, which is not even a year old.

The government faces a number of challenges in January that have the potential to collapse the already tenuous relationship between the two parties, with the first being the surprise resignation of Five Star Movement Minister of Education Lorenzo Fioramonti this week over the government’s budget, Il Giornale reports.

The next major hurdle for the coalition will be the upcoming proposed referendum on changing the number of parliamentarians in the Italian parliament, with the Five Star Movement proposing a reduction in the number, while the populist League led by Matteo Salvini has come out against shrinking the number of members.

A referendum requires the signatures of one-fifth of one of the two Italian chambers of parliament and a potential referendum could bring down the government, as the referendum on election reform brought down the government of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in December 2016.

Salvini’s League has remained unhappy with the election system in Italy and on January 15th, judgement in the Constitutional Court is expected after the party requested that part of the current law be repealed. A positive judgement for Salvini would be a blow to the coalition which has spent several months working on proposals for the electoral system.

Salvini also faces a vote in the Italian parliament on whether or not to bring the populist leader to trial on charges of kidnapping over his refusal to allow migrants aboard a Guardia di Finanza (militarised Italian police force) vessel to disembark in Italy while he was Interior Minister.

While many in the coalition are expected to vote to allow the trial to proceed, others, such as the former PD members who make up the new Italia Viva party led by Matteo Renzi, have been far more hesitant on the matter. 

The greatest challenge to the coalition will come on January 26th when the country sees two important regional elections in the leftist stronghold of Emilia-Romagna and the southern region of Calabria. 

Having already bested the Democratic Party in the regional elections in historically leftist Umbria in October alongside his centre-right coalition, Salvini’s coalition maintains strong polling numbers heading into the regional elections with some polls showing the centre-left and centre-right candidates neck and neck. 

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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