The Italian government plans to extend the country’s state of emergency, which allows it to rule by decree without needing parliamentary approval, despite fierce protests from opposition parties.
“The government will take the decision to extend the state of emergency until October 31 only after a further passage in parliament,” Health minister Roberto Speranza said Tuesday, according to Italian media.
On Tuesday afternoon, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will inform senators of the government’s intention. He will do the same in parliament on Wednesday morning. The government initially declared a state of emergency at the end of January to allow ministers to deal with the coronavirus crisis. It was due to last for six months, expiring at the end of July.
The executive can initiate the state of emergency without parliament’s approval, in case of “natural disasters, catastrophes or other events which … must be faced with means and extraordinary powers,” according to a 1992 law. It can last for a maximum of 12 months — and then be prolonged for another year.
“The possible extension simply means that we are then in a position to continue taking the necessary measures, so you should not be surprised if the decision will be to extend the state of emergency,” Conte said on July 10.
Opposition parties say they will contest the move. League leader Matteo Salvini declared last week that, “There is no health emergency … anyone who wants to extend the state of emergency is an enemy of Italy.”
Giorgia Meloni, leader of far-right Brothers of Italy, said earlier this month she is “ready to build up barricades” against an extension.