ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s government won a vote of confidence in the Senate on Monday on a decree targeting charities operating migrant rescue ships, in a victory for Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and his hardline party right, the League.
The 5-Star League and Anti-Establishment Movement government has been embroiled in internal strife in recent weeks but won the vote by 160 votes to 57. He would have had to resign had he lost the motion.
The decree drafted by Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister, toughens sanctions against charity ships seeking to bring migrants rescued in the Mediterranean to Italy.
The decree had already been passed by the lower house and therefore becomes law just days before parliament closes on Wednesday for the summer recess.
Some 5-star politicians expressed reservations about the executive order, and some of its senators did not support it in Monday’s vote.
Their defection was compensated by the fact that the center-right opposition party Forza Italia did not take part in the vote, saying it agreed with the objectives of the decree.
Confidence votes are often used by Italian governments to fast-track legislation through parliament, truncate debate and sweep away opposition amendments.
The decree increases maximum fines for ships that enter Italian waters without permission to 1 million euros ($1.12 million) from 50,000 previously. It also provides for the arrest of captains who ignore orders to stay clear and calls on naval authorities to automatically seize their boats.
Salvini has repeatedly clashed with aid groups picking up migrants off the Libyan coast with the aim of bringing them to Italy, preventing them from docking until other EU countries agree to dodge. accommodate most of them.
In June, the German ship Sea-Watch, commanded by Carola Rackete, was seized as it entered the port of Lampedusa without permission. Rackete was later released from house arrest, prompting Salvini to denounce the judge who handed down the decision.
Salvini’s popularity skyrocketed thanks to his uncompromising anti-migrant stance.
A poll by the Winpoll agency published Friday in the business daily Il Sole 24 ore puts support for the League at 39%, easily making it the most popular party in the country with more than double its share of the vote in the elections. legislative elections last year.
Written by Gavin Jones; edited by Giselda Vagnoni and Deepa Babington