Published On: Fri, Aug 30th, 2019

Italy crisis: Salvini rages at ‘theft of democracy’ after government deal | World | News


The fierce eurosceptic has suffered a disastrous week after his bid to grab sole power in the divided southern European country backfired badly. Earlier this month, Matteo Salvini pulled the plug on the coalition between his Lega party and 5-Star Movement in Italy after a turbulent 14-month term. Lega had recently held a hefty lead in the opinion polls with up to 38 percent support, and immediately demanded a general election when the Government partnership ended.

But Mr Salvini’s plan has backfired, with anti-establishment 5-Star set to team up with the centre-left Democratic party (PD), often a staunch rival.

Giuseppe Conte, who is an independent and resigned in fury when the coalition collapsed, is being reinstated to lead the county.

But the outspoken Mr Salvini, a harsh critic of the European Union, has vowed to fight back, despite being ousted from power in Italy.

Despite Lega’s support slipping in recent polls following the collapse of the coalition, he is set to hold a rally against the new alliance in Rome on October 19.

italy salvini conte

Matteo Salvini is furious at the appointment of the new Government, led by Giuseppe Conte (Image: REUTERS)

matteo salvini

Matteo Salvini has vowed to fight back, despite being ousted from power (Image: REUTERS)

He said in a Facebook live chat on Thursday afternoon: “We have to take to the streets to protest against this theft of democracy.”

Last week, Mr Salvini accused “Brussels, Berlin and Paris” of orchestrating a political stitch-up that will see him forced out of the Italian Government.

After last weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz, the Lega head accused world leaders and the EU of scheming to ensure he doesn’t return to a position of power.

He claimed Mr Conte’s expected reappointment as Prime Minister “was decided in Biarritz by Brussels, Berlin and Paris”.

READ MORE: ‘Italy must LEAVE the eurozone!’ League vows to rock Brussels

matteo salvini

Matteo Salvini has vowed to ‘take to the streets to protest against this theft of democracy’ (Image: REUTERS)

Mr Salvini added he was “incredulous” that PD, who had slumped in recent regional and European Parliament elections, were set to enter government “through the back door”.

Mr Conte will continue to face huge pressure from his fierce rival and still faces a massive job to get Italy back on track as one of Europe’s powerhouses.

He will immediately have to manage the newly-formed alliance between 5-Star and PD – traditionally fierce political rivals in Italy.

But the two parties are already arguing over a number of top Government posts, including that of 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio.

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giuseppe conte

Giuseppe Conte still has a huge job to restore Italy’s powerful position in the EU (Image: REUTERS)

luigi di maio

Luigi Di Maio wants to remain as deputy Prime Minister under the newly-formed Government (Image: REUTERS)

He had been Mr Conte’s deputy in the recent short-lived coalition, and is insisting he keep that role in the new alliance, despite strong opposition from PD.

They had said Mr Di Maio wants to remain as deputy Prime Minister but this is something the party considers unacceptable under Mr Conte’s premiership.

5-Star said in a blog post earlier this week that even if a deal was struck, it would still need to survive a vote of its party members, which has yet to happen.

One senior 5-Star official told Politico it would be a “huge problem” if activists voted against the alliance.

italy economy

Italy’s economy struggled under the last coalition Government (Image: EXPRESS)

This could give Mr Salvini a route back into power, as President Mattarella may be forced into calling dramatic snap elections to solve the crisis.

Mr Conte had been given a mandate to form a new Government by President Sergio Mattarella after marathon talks earlier this week.

Speaking during his acceptance speech outside the Quirinal Palace, Mr Conte said: “It’s a very delicate period for the country.

“We need to end the political insecurity that this government crisis has caused as soon as possible.”

italy government

Italy’s previous coalition government collapsed after just 14 months (Image: REUTERS)

Lega are still the biggest political party in Italy and a dramatic win for Salvini would once again put Italy back on collision course with the European Union over expansionary government spending.

His focus will still likely be on demanding snap elections but opinion polls show Lega has lost 3-7 percentage points since collapsing the coalition.

But they are still the biggest political party, followed by PD and 5-Star.



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