Italy PM Conte comfortably wins lower house confidence vote


Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte faces a confidence vote at the lower house of parliament after former PM Matteo Renzi pulled his party out of government, in Rome, Italy, January 18, 2021. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/Pool

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte won a crucial confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies on Monday, hanging on to power after a junior partner quit his coalition last week and opened a political crisis amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

Had he lost the vote, Conte would have been forced to resign.

After his appeal to opposition and non-aligned parliamentarians to back him following the walk-out by former premier Matteo Renzi's Italia Viva party, Conte's government won the lower-house vote by 321 to 259.

The margin was wider than expected and secured Conte an absolute majority in the 629-seat chamber.

Conte will face a tougher test on Tuesday in the upper house Senate, where the government had only a slim majority even when Renzi's lawmakers were still part of the coalition.

(Reporting By Gavin Jones, editing by Crispian Balmer)

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