For the past few weeks, Senator Renzi has been expressing strong discontent regarding how Italy’s share of the EU Recovery Fund (worth €209bn) will be spent. Renzi has threatened to withdraw his Italia Viva party’s support from the governing coalition between MS5 and the bloc comprising Renzi’s former PD and other left-leaning parties, including IV, who currently have two government ministers. The loss of IV’s support could undermine already-fragile political stability in Italy as the party's 17 seats in the Senate are pivotal in providing the governing coalition its majority in the upper house. It would then be up to the coalition’s members to negotiate a new cabinet, which may or may not be headed by Conte, or up to President Sergio Mattarella to form a government of national unity or call an election.
A government reshuffle involving the replacement of some MS5 ministers with those from PD and IV, with concessions from Conte such as stronger Parliamentary control of the recovery fund (and secret services) and the implementation of additional EU loans to invest in healthcare, is more likely than an early election, since nobody in the fragile governing coalition desires one. Recent polls indicate that parties in the right-wing bloc would emerge victorious in an election, and there is the chance that Renzi’s own party (currently polling at 3%) would be wiped out, particularly if it is perceived to be at fault for destabilizing the government in the midst of the pandemic’s second wave.