Saturday 17 August 2019
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The News - 4 days ago

Italy recalls Senate as govt crisis intensifies

Rome: Italian senators will on Tuesday try to hammer out agreement on a possible no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte s government after far-right leader Matteo Salvini pulled the plug on the teetering coalition.Senators have been recalled at the height of the holiday season after the heads of political groupings in the house on Monday failed to agree on a timetable for the vote demanded by Interior Minister Salvini. He called last week for swift elections after withdrawing the support of his anti-immigration League party from an increasingly acrimonious alliance with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), plunging the country into turmoil.While the government is still in place, the Senate must decide whether to initiate a no-confidence vote in the 14-month-old administration of Conte, an independent agreed to by deputy prime ministers Salvini and M5S leader Luigi Di Maio last year.Thursday is the Catholic Feast of the Assumption or Ferragosto, a bank holiday that traditionally marks the peak of Italians holiday season, and it is not clear how many senators will make it back to Rome for the vote.They will meet from 1600 GMT on Tuesday to debate a range of motions, including the Conte no-confidence vote and whether the premier should address the Senate on the crisis on August 20 instead.Together the M5S and the opposition Democratic Party (PD) have enough votes to approve the latter motion, potentially thwarting Salvini s bid to bring down the government. The PD is also expected to table a no-confidence motion in Salvini, who wants a vote on Conte as early as Wednesday and for elections to follow in October to capitalise on opinion polls suggesting the League could garner 36-38 percent of votes.Populist leader Salvini effectively ended the ruling alliance on Thursday, saying afterwards he had had enough of working with the M5S and what he said was its refusal to collaborate on key issues. The two parties have seen a stunning reversal of fortunes since forming a government after the M5S won more than 32 percent of votes and the League 17 percent in 2018.

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