Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is set to hand in his resignation on Tuesday, following criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 85,000 Italians have died with Covid-19.

Mr Conte hopes to be given a mandate by the president to form a stronger government after losing his majority in the Senate.

Should he fail to do so, the task could fall to someone else and – failing that – fresh elections will be held.

A statement from the cabinet office said a meeting is convened for 09:00 (08:00 GMT) where Mr Conte “will inform his ministers of his intention to resign. He will then go to see President Sergio Mattarella”.

Mr Conte, who has been prime minister since 2018, survived a vote of confidence in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, last week.

The vote was called after former PM Matteo Renzi pulled his small Italia Viva party out of the coalition and said he would only return if Mr Conte accepted a list of demands.

He objects to Mr Conte’s plans for spending €209bn (£186bn; $254bn) of EU recovery funds – part of a €750bn EU rescue for the Covid crisis.

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) has said it will “remain at Conte’s side”.

His resignation comes ahead of a vote on judicial reforms later this week that MPs in his coalition warned he would lose.

Mr Conte, an independent technocrat, has led two very different successive governments.

For 15 months he headed a coalition between M5S and the far-right League, whose leader Matteo Salvini pulled out in a failed bid to force elections.

Since then he has presided over a centre-left coalition of which M5S and the Democratic Party have been the main components.