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Italy PM appeals for unity as Renzi threatens to sink government

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks to the media outside his office, Chigi Palace, after meeting with President Sergio Mattarella, in Rome, Italy, January 13, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday made a last-ditch appeal to Matteo Renzi not to pull his small party out of the government and trigger its collapse.

Conte told reporters he was working on a new coalition pact to last until the end of the legislature and said he was convinced that government unity could be restored if there was goodwill from all sides.

“I hope there will be no withdrawal of ministers,” Conte said.

He spoke shortly before former premier Renzi was due to hold a news conference at 5.30 pm (1630 GMT). There is widespread speculation that he will use the event to announce the resignation of his party’s two ministers from the cabinet.

Reporting by Angelo Amante, writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Crispian Balmer