Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Italian politicians try to stop push for elections

Italian politicians try to stop push for elections

Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister, reiterated his calls for a snap vote on Friday, adding that any attempt to block his wishes and install a new ruling coalition would be unacceptable.

Salvini, who leads the far-right, anti-immigrant League party, has nearly doubled his consensus to around 30 percent since June 2018, when he formed a coalition government with the populist Five-Star Movement, which has since halved its support to around 17 percent.

Conte, who had held separate talks with Salvini and the country's President Sergio Mattarella as the crisis deepened, said in a statement later that the interior minister doesn't summon parliament and "it's not up to him to dictate the steps of the political crisis".

Milan's stock market plunged by 2.3 percent Friday morning, hours after Matteo Salvini, whose hard-line League party is the junior coalition member, announced he would no longer support Premier Giuseppe Conte's 14-month-old populist government.

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

It is not clear if and when a new election would be held.

"The only thing I am interested in is that we fix a date for the election".

The Italian parliament is now on its summer recess but the no-confidence motion means it could reconvene next week.

The League on Thursday complained of deadlock on a variety of issues, including a vote in parliament over the future of an EU-funded high-speed rail link between Turin and the French city of Lyon.

Salvini stated that he informed the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, that the alliance had failed massively after less than a year, and that the parties should "quickly give the choice back to the voters".

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

The timing of any election is critical, as Italy must submit a budget in the fall - and needs a working majority to work out terms.

A new vote could result in a hard-Right government formed by the League and the small Brothers of Italy party.

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

If Salvini gets his way, Italy could go to the polls in October - when the country would also be grappling with a budget likely to provoke a fresh stand-off with the European Union over borrowing and debt levels.

Both houses of parliament are now on recess for the holidays and are not due back until September.

At the time of the general election, the left-wing Five Star was the senior partner and largest party in Italy with 32 per cent of the vote, while the strongly pro-border control league took just 17 per cent.

Mr Salvini is keen to end the uneasy partnership and forge a government on his own.

The moves come amid ongoing tensions between the two parties.

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