Current Italian Deputy Prime Minister and leader of Italy’s League party, Matteo Salvini, has declared that the governing coalition in Italy is not working out after several months of internal arguments, and on Thursday he stated that the only way to progress forward is to hold another set of elections.
The eurozone’s third-largest economy is suffering from immense political uncertainty, with the shock announcement fuelling even more feuding between the right-win League and the coalition party, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.
Salvini stated that he informed the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, that the alliance had failed massively after less than a year, and that the parties should “quickly give the choice back to the voters.”
In a brief televised statement, Conte said that Salvini must explain to the Italian public as to why he wanted to bring down the government and that “the crisis he has unleashed” should be the clearest one “in the history of the republic”.
Conte accused Salvini on relying on “slogans”, adding that he would no longer accept Salvini’s constant attacks.
Remarkably, until just a few weeks ago, Salvini had repeatedly said that the government would manage to last a full five-year term, and as he brushed off Conte’s criticisms of him, he shifted the blame on 5-Star for slowing down the processing of policies that the country badly needs in order to boost its stagnant economy.
Tensions between the two parties reached their peak on Wednesday, as they voted against each other with regards to the future of a project for a high-speed train link with France, with the 5-Star disagreeing, whilst the League supported the project.
Whilst 5-Star has more parliamentary seats than the League, Salvini’s party has approximately twice as much voter support according to opinion polls.
The only person that has the power to dissolve the parliament is President Sergio Mattarella, and he may be unwilling to do so right before the preparatory work for the upcoming 2020 budget, especially since it has to be presented to the parliament just a month after.
This comes at a time of great uncertainty for Italy, with it having the second-largest European sovereign debt burden after Greece. Italy has already infuriated the European Union by utilising an expansionary 2019 budget, and the fact that Salvini wants major tax cuts next year will result in even more conflicts in the future.
If an election is announced, it will be the first election to be held in autumn by Italy in all of the post-war period.