Italy faces a new political crisis as the M5S threatens to avoid the vote of confidence.
Italy’s government under Prime Minister Mario Draghi is at risk of collapse after populist coalition partner MoVimento 5 Stelle (M5S) pledged to boycott a parliamentary confidence vote on Thursday.
The leader of M5S, former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, said on Wednesday evening that his party would not support the vote on the 26 billion euro cost-of-living package in the Senate.
Conte claims the government has not listened to M5S proposals, including measures to address social issues. The party has also repeatedly voiced its opposition to Italy sending more military aid to Ukraine.
The M5S is ready to engage in dialogue and make a “constructive contribution” to the government, Conte said, but stressed that the party was “unwilling to write a blank cheque”.
The M5S position risks leading to snap elections in the fall, before the Italian legislative elections scheduled for spring 2023.
Matteo Salvini’s right-wing Lega party threatened to quit government if M5S boycotted the key vote, while Enrico Letta, leader of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) party, said going to the polls “would be logic” if the government falls.
Giorgia Meloni, leader of the right-wing Fratelli d’Italia (FdI) party, which has stayed out of Draghi’s broad coalition and is leading in opinion polls, has called for immediate elections.
Draghi has said in recent days that the government could not survive without M5S but stressed that his administration would not accept ultimatums.
If the M5S stopped supporting the government, Draghi said, it would be up to the president Sergio Mattarella to decide the next move.
Support for M5S under Conte’s leadership has plummeted over the past year and in June the party was split after Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio quit the party he once led, taking with him dozens of parliamentarians.
“Not voting for confidence in the government is a serious matter” – said Wednesday Di Maio – “A government crisis in the midst of war is an act of manifest irresponsibility and condemns the country to the abyss”.