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ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER TENDERS RESIGNATION

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte submitted his resignation Tuesday to President Sergio Mattarella, in a bid to form a new, stronger government.

The president accepted the resignation and “reserves the right to decide (what to do next) and invited the government to stay in office in a caretaker capacity”, Mattarella’s office said.

Mattarella, the ultimate arbiter of Italian political crises, said he would start a round of discussions with party leaders on the way forward on Wednesday afternoon. Talks are expected to last until Thursday.

Conte is expected to seek a new mandate for what would be his third consecutive government in three years, but this depends on his ability to expand his parliamentary majority.

He can currently count on the populist Five Star Movement, the centre-left Democratic Party and the smaller leftist Free and Equals party.

Ex-premier Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva, which pulled out of the coalition two weeks ago, as well as opposition centrists, are under pressure to switch sides and support a new government — but not necessarily with Conte at the helm.

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