Sunday, 22 September, 2019


Italy PM Conte says to offer resignation

D-day for Italian government as PM Conte expected to resign Italy's political crisis: Live updates
Bennie Garza | 20 August, 2019, 17:35

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has told senators he is handing in his resignation because his right-wing coalition partner, the League party led by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, has made a decision to yank its support for the populist government. "I will go to the president of the republic (Sergio Mattarella) to inform him of my resignation", after the debate, Conte said.

The coalition rift turned to open warfare when Salvini's Lega made a last-minute decision not to back Ursula von der Leyen's bid to become the next President of the European Commission.

"Whatever happens, I wanted to tell you that it was an honour to work together in this government", said Di Maio, who serves as deputy prime minister in the cabinet.

Debt-laden economy Italy's decades of instability.

Conte will address the Senate this afternoon at 3 pm but it is not clear yet whether he will resign immediately afterwards or choose to wait for the outcome of a no-confidence vote put forward by the Lega party, his far-right coalition partner. A snap election - more than three years early - could come at the end of October and allow Salvini to capitalise on polls suggesting the League might get 36-38 percent of votes.

According to opinion polls, the League could form a coalition with the anti-immigration, anti-LGBT Fratelli d'Italia, and possibly Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia. Ever present on social media, Salvini has been taking his message to the beaches at the height of the summer holiday season, promising to cut taxes, to block migrants from Italian ports, and to complete a high-speed rail link to France.

Mr Conte also warned that Mr Salvini had undermined the function of the government, "which stops here".

Tensions within the ruling coalition surged after the European elections, when the balance of power between Italy's two ruling parties turned in Lega's favour.

Former premier, Matteo Renzi, who still holds a strong influence over PD said he would back any short-term government that was "anti-Salvini".

The leader of the nationalist Patriots movement in France said: "Salvini will only succeed [in becoming the new PM] if he takes Italy out of the EU". The coalition government has always been mired with tensions, particularly since the League emerged as Italy's biggest party in European elections in May.

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