Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will hand in his resignation to the head of state after convening the cabinet to inform ministers of his decision.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attends a debate before a confidence vote in the upper house of parliament after former prime minister Matteo Renzi pulled his party out of government, in Rome, Italy, January 19, 2021.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attends a debate before a confidence vote in the upper house of parliament after former prime minister Matteo Renzi pulled his party out of government, in Rome, Italy, January 19, 2021. (Reuters)

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will hand in his resignation to the head of state on Tuesday after convening the cabinet to inform ministers of his decision, the cabinet office has said.

Conte hopes President Sergio Mattarella will give him a mandate to form a new government with broader backing in parliament, political sources said.

Conte lost his absolute majority in the upper house Senate last week when a junior partner, the Italia Viva party headed by former premier Matteo Renzi, quit in a row over the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis and economic recession.

He called a cabinet meeting for 0800 GMT when he "will inform the ministers of his desire to go to the Quirinale (President Sergio Mattarella's office) to resign," his office said.

Media reports suggest he will seek a new mandate to form a new government to run Italy as it battles the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 85,000 people dead in the country and crippled the economy.

READ MORE: Italian PM Conte faces power test as Renzi pulls support

Weakened government

Conte survived a parliamentary vote of confidence last week but failed to secure a majority in the Senate, the upper house, leaving his government severely weakened.

His resignation comes ahead of a key vote on judicial reforms later this week, which commentators suggest the government was on course to lose.

Shortly before the announcement, the largest party in parliament, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), said it would stand by Conte.

"We remain at Conte's side," said a statement from the party's leaders in both parliamentary houses, Davide Crippa and Ettore Licheri.

READ MORE: Italian PM Conte wins confidence vote but loses overall majority

Source: TRTWorld and agencies