After the end of the pan-populist government and the resignation of Prime Minister Conte, the ball is now in the court of the president. According to the constitution, he is responsible for exploring the possibilities of forming a new government. Talks on this are to be held today. The only possible alternative, based on the composition of the parliament, is cooperation between five stars and the PD (centre-left). It is conceivable that Mattarella could bring into play a technocratic transitional government supported by both. This would launch the 2020 budget before the elections in the spring of next year. For a cooperation for the rest of the legislature until 2023, however, such an alliance lacks the common basis on essential issues of European, migration, economic and financial policy.
If the attempt at cooperation between Five Stars and PD fails, new elections are inevitable in the near future. According to the constitution, these must take place in a time window between 40 and 70 days after the dissolution of parliament. Since Rome has to submit the financial plan for 2020 to the EU Commission by 15 October, budget planning would fall directly into the election campaign. While early new elections in Italy seemed less likely in the past few days, it is precisely the massive criticism of Lega boss Salvini’s tactical approach that could bring short-term new elections back into the limelight. A power struggle is raging within the PD. While former prime minister Renzi sees his chance of a political comeback in a collaboration with Five Stars, the party leadership around chairman Zingaretti sees the chance of a significant increase in parliamentary seats in the event of new elections. The last election polls at the beginning of August still see the Lega in the front, but there are increasing indications that the outcome of a parliamentary election could be more open than expected.