Now, really? Italy political chaos sparks dismay

Italy faces political turmoil.

That after former prime minister Matteo Renzi pulled his small party out of the ruling coalition, stripping it of a majority.

Now it’s unclear what will happen, but it’s hardly the best timing.

The country is mired in its worst recession since World War II.

It’s also battling the second-highest death toll in Europe in the ongoing health crisis.

Small businesses in Rome said leaders should be focused on helping them, not squabbling over power.

Shops close every day says this restaurant owner.

He says there’s no time to wait for a new government, even if it proved to be an effective one.

Prime Minster Giuseppe Conte is playing his cards close to his chest.

He has said nothing since Renzi quit.

Italy-watchers say one option is for him to cobble together a new grouping of so-called “responsible” lawmakers.

But such a group could be fragile and hard to control.

If that doesn’t work, Conte might have to swallow his pride, and ask Renzi to return.

Though aides to the prime minister say reconciliation is impossible, after bad blood between the two.

Whatever happens, most think it needs to happen quickly, probably leaving no time for a fresh election.

Italy is about to receive emergency EU funds totalling more than 200 billion euros - or about 243 billion dollars.

It needs a government that can decide what to do with the money.