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20 Aug, 2019 14:01

Italian PM Conte resigns as coalition row deepens after Salvini calls for new election

Italian PM Conte resigns as coalition row deepens after Salvini calls for new election

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced his resignation, delivering a blistering attack on Matteo Salvini after the deputy PM backed out of the shaky coalition.

Conte said he would step down on Tuesday, following a move last week by Salvini – who also serves as interior minister – to withdraw from the ruling coalition, plunging Italy into political turmoil.

“Salvini’s decision [to withdraw] is serious, it has relevant consequences for the economic and social life of the country,” Conte said. 

Conte submitted his formal resignation to President Sergio Mattarella on Tuesday afternoon after a Senate debate, and Mattarella accepted it. Conte will reportedly remain Italy’s temporary ‘caretaker’ PM until his replacement is chosen.

Salvini, who leads Italy’s ruling League party, called for a new election earlier this month, saying the coalition is no longer feasible. He clashed a number of times with fellow Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio, who heads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

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The resignation will not trigger a snap election immediately, however. Mattarella will be tasked with deciding on the way forward, which could involve either a caretaker government if lawmakers approve, or he could install a new government if another parliamentary majority emerges. The Five Star Movement is reportedly in talks with the left-of-center Democratic Party to form a new government.

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