Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Italy's governing coalition facing collapse

Luigi Di Maio of the Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini of the League have battled over a wide range of issues since the coalition was formed last year Salvini calls for snap polls amid coalition crisis
Steven Clarke | 13 August, 2019, 15:43

Right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini's drive for early elections in Italy hit a road bump on Monday with parliamentary party leaders failing to decide when the Senate should debate his no-confidence motion in the government.

"Italians need to know when they can vote for a new government", Salvini said, taking selfies of himself among a crowd in the southern town of Policoro.

Salvini said in a statement he had told Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who belongs to neither coalition party, that the alliance with 5-Star had collapsed after barely a year in power and "we should quickly give the choice back to the voters".

In remarks to journalists on late August 8, Conte chastized Salvini for urging lawmakers to interrupt their vacations for a speedy confidence vote.

"We are all aware of the danger Salvini represents, but I doubt that a government fixing the public finances Salvini messed up would be the solution", he said.

The governing two parties have been at odds over a host of policy issues but tensions spiraled Wednesday after the Senate rejected a move by 5-Star to kill a EU-funded high-speed rail link with neighboring France.

The opposition has called on the government to resign, arguing it no longer has a workable majority in parliament after Di Maio voted against the Lyon-Turin rail project.

"I don't look at the opinion polls", Salvini said Friday during an appearance in Termoli, a seaside town in the south.

Body found in search for Nóra Quoirin
Nora's family said they were convinced she had been abducted but the Malaysian police have said there were no signs of foul play. It comes after the parents of the missing teen offered a £10,000 reward for information that could lead to her safe return.

An election in October would be unheard of and potentially complicate drawing up of the budget at a time when market volatility is already high and rising, pushing up Italy's borrowing costs even more.

The heads of Italy's political groups have failed to reach agreement on when to hold a vote of no confidence, amid a government crisis triggered by nationalist leader Matteo Salvini.

Conte said he would no longer accept Salvini's attacks on his ministers and accused him of relying on "slogans".

The crisis inside the Italian government has been sparked by a parliament vote on a major railroad project, which was supported by the Lega party, while the MS5 Movement, its coalition partner, was against it.

However, it was not all sunshine for Salvini in Policoro, one of the southern areas where M5S did well in last year's general election.

Conte, who is not affiliated with either party, has accused Salvini of wanting an early vote to allow the League to profit from now favorable voter sentiment, with opinion polls showing the party as being likely to comfortably win any election in the coming months. It was unclear when that might happen, since parliament has adjourned for the summer holiday.

However, President Sergio Mattarella will ask the parties in parliament to explore ways to appoint a new government, which could prevent early elections. "Of a government of 'No.' This government in reality has always spoken little, and worked a lot", Conte said.

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