Conte tells MPs to vote for government 'free from selfishness'

  ROME - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged MPs on Monday to support a crucial vote of confidence in parliament, saying that his embattled government now needs "the greatest unity possible," and must be capable of "escaping selfishness and personal interest." 

  Conte made this appeal for national unity during a debate hours before members of the Chamber of Deputies were due to begin voting on a confidence motion called after former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Italy Viva party plunged Italy into political crisis by withdrawing support from the coalition government.

 Renzi deserted the coalition in protest of the government’s Recovery Plan, and for their refusal to accept money from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Conte is looking likely to survive the vote in the Chamber, but it still remains to be seen if he can rally enough support in the Senate.

  The coalition, led by Conte and made up mostly by the Democratic Party and the 5 Star Movement (M5S), will have to face confidence votes in both the Chamber of Deputies, on Monday, and the Senate, on Tuesday. There has been much criticism of Renzi for having created such instability in this time of national crisis, parliament either having to be dissolved for a national election, or a new coalition having to be formed, should the government lose.

  Two deputies from Renzi’s mutinous Italia Viva have already declared their support for Conte’s government, with many more expected to follow during the pre-vote debate in the Chamber.

  In his long speech to the lower house, Conte addressed the nation, asking that they, “help us to reimagine the current crisis. Dear citizens, trust must be reciprocal, it must be something that powers us in a collaborative way. You have offered a response of great responsibility, you are showing you place great faith in our institutions. I trust that with the vote today, our institutions will also know how to repay this faith.” He continued that one must repair “the gravely irresponsible actions” that have produced this crisis.

  He added that the challenges that face Italy require “the greatest unity possible, the greatest consensus in Parliament. They need a government and willing parliamentary forces, aware of the sensitivity of the tasks. Capable of escaping egoism and personal interest.”

   He concluded by saying that “we will build a government open to all those who have in their heart the future of Italy.”