Italy government

Italian government feud: PM Conte calls minister Salvini ‘disloyal’

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte accused Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of ‘disloyalty’ and an ‘obsession with blocking immigration’ in an open letter posted on social media – intensifying the feud within the coalition in power.

Conte, who does not belong to any party, used the case of a migrant rescue boat refused entry into Italian ports by Salvini to settle accounts with the head of the Lega (League) who had called a motion censorship in the government.

Salvini said last week that his right-wing party would no longer support the current alliance with the Five Star Movement.

Salvini hopes there will be new elections soon as he tries to capitalize on his party’s growing popularity.

The League is trying to end its coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which currently holds the most seats in the House and Senate.

READ MORE: Italian Senate rejects request for immediate debate on no-confidence vote

But his move doesn’t seem to be going as planned.

5-Star and the opposition Democratic Party (PD) have blocked any debate in the Senate on the no confidence motion and many politicians are now discussing forming their own coalition that would oust Salvini.

In his letterConte said he convinced six EU countries to board some of the migrants aboard the Open Arms charity ship and accused Salvini of “unfair collaboration” by misrepresenting Conte’s position.

Conte accused the interior minister of using the immigration issue to attract supporters rather than seeking solutions with Italy’s partners.

“I understand your staunch and obsessive focus on dealing with the immigration issue by reducing it to the formula of ‘closed ports’. You are a political leader and you legitimately intend to constantly increase your support. .”, he wrote.

Salvini responded to Conte’s comments at a press conference outside the southern Italian city of Caserta.

“Yes, I am guilty of having an obsession with the safety of Italian citizens, and an obsession with the fight against human traffickers and NGOs complicit in human traffickers. Sixty million Italians pay my salary for this obsession.”

Does Salvini regret his feud with 5-Star?

After rumors spread that the 5-Star and PD politicians were considering forming a coalition, League Agriculture Minister Gian Marco Centinaio said on Wednesday he was not ruling out patching things up with 5 stars.

Salvini said the League “will do everything in their power to prevent a trickster deal between 5-Star and the PD”.

But the chances of fixing things seem lost. Five-star leader Luigi di Maio said on Thursday there was no turning back after Salvini said he wanted to end the coalition.

“Now he regrets it, but the damage is done. Everyone creates their own destiny. Good luck!” Di Maio wrote in a Facebook post.

And after?

On August 20, Conte will address the Senate on the crisis. After that, he can go to the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, to resign or he can wait for a vote of no confidence.

After that, Mattarella meets the parties. The League and the 5 Star Movement may decide to continue together with another Prime Minister.

The League offered the 5 Stars the endorsement of the Parliamentarians’ Cup (a 5 Star reform that the movement wants, as it has focused on this reform of their election campaign) in exchange for an immediate election after the reform.

Or:

The 5-star movement can decide to continue with Conte or another prime minister with the Democratic Party (which came third in the last political elections).

Or:

The last possible option, if there is no majority, is to have an election (after at least 60 days after the dissolution of parliament, which only Mattarella can call).