Tuesday 20 August 2019

Coalition goes off rails as League plots election

 

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reacts to Italy's ruling coalition breakdown, speaking to journalists at an impromptu, late evening news conference at government house in Rome, Italy. Photo: REUTERS/Alberto Lingria
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reacts to Italy's ruling coalition breakdown, speaking to journalists at an impromptu, late evening news conference at government house in Rome, Italy. Photo: REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Nick Squires

Italy was in political crisis last night after the League party said its coalition with the Five Star Movement was irredeemably broken and new elections were the only option.

The partners have been battling each other on a wide range of issues since they came to power last year, but the situation reached tipping point with a clash over a high-speed train line between Italy and France.

The League voted against a Five Star motion to scrap the multibillion-euro project linking Turin to Lyon by a tunnel under the Alps.

If the government collapses, it would likely be replaced by a hard-right, Eurosceptic coalition with Matteo Salvini, of the League, as prime minister.

"It's useless to go on with delays, blocks and arguments on a daily basis," the League said in a statement.

"For us, the only alternative to this government is to give the choice back to the Italians with new elections."

The vote on the rail link was "just the latest, clear, irreparable" sign of the sharp differences between the parties.

Five Star's leader Luigi Di Maio said he was fed up with "power games" being played by the League.

The League has by far the most to gain from new elections as its public support since last year has risen from 17pc to around 38pc.

Irish Independent

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