Italy’s political crisis comes to a head as PM tipped to quit

Rome, Aug 20 (AFP/APP):Italy’s political crisis comes to a head on Tuesday with speculation Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will resign after far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini pulled the plug on the dysfunctional coalition government.

Conte is due to speak in the Senate at 3:00 pm (1300 GMT) following a week of fallout from Salvini’s dramatic decision to back out of the alliance on August 8, plunging the eurozone’s third-largest economy into political turmoil.

Salvini’s anti-immigrant League party has been soaring in opinion polls during months of squabbling over key policy decisions with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S).

Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister, hopes to trigger early elections, which polls suggest his League party and right-wing allies could win.

Conte is expected to make a speech, widely touted to be scathing of Salvini’s behaviour, but it is not yet clear whether he will then immediately resign or wait for the outcome of a no confidence vote.

The likely end to the 14-month-old government would open the way for President Sergio Mattarella to begin consultations with political parties, with a range of options available.

A snap election, the forming of a new coalition without holding new elections and, although unlikely, the continuation of the current government, would all be considered.
Ahead of Conte’s speech, Salvini told Radio 24: “What is the point of a government with everyone ‘against Salvini’? A government must be strong to be able to act.”

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