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Italy’s Salvini pushes for new election amid deadlock between coalition parties

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to seek a confidence vote in parliament.

Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini (Maurizio Brambatti/ANSA Via AP)
Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini (Maurizio Brambatti/ANSA Via AP)

By Colleen Barry, Associated Press

Italy faces a government crisis after its interior minister Matteo Salvini called for a new election.

Mr Salvini, of the right-wing League party, said his party’s coalition with the populist 5-Star Movement had collapsed over policy differences.

Mr Salvini urged Italy’s prime minister to verify whether the coalition still had a governing majority in parliament.

The ruling two parties have been at odds recently over a host of policy issues but tensions spiralled on Wednesday after the senate rejected a move by the 5-Stars to kill an EU-funded high-speed rail link with neighbouring France.

The massive infrastructure project – known in Italy as TAV – was backed by the League and sought to improve rail links across several European nations.

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte leaves Chigi Palace in Rome (Giuseppe Lami/ANSA via AP)

As tones hardened, Mr Salvini met with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. After the meeting, Mr Salvini issued a statement saying the TAV vote clearly showed that the ruling coalition had collapsed and called for a speedy election.

“Let’s go immediately to the parliament and verify that there is no longer a majority, as was evident in the vote on the TAV, and quickly return the word to voters,” Mr Salvini said.

Mr Conte was expected to seek a confidence vote in parliament and if the government lost, that would set the stage for a new election.

Parliament has adjourned for its summer break and would need to be recalled. In the case of a no-confidence vote, it is up to Italy’s president to call a new election.

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5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio, centre (Giuseppe Lami/ANSA via AP)

The 5-Star leader, Luigi Di Maio, responded to Mr Salvini’s statement by saying his populist party was ready to go to a new election. But he sought to put it off, saying an election should not happen until after parliament gave its final approval to a reform reducing the number of MPs in a vote scheduled for early September.

Earlier, the League issued a statement complaining of deadlock with the 5-Star Movement on a variety of issues, saying “it is useless to go on” adding that “the only alternative to this government” is for a new election.

PA

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