Italy government

The Italian government risks collapse if 5 stars withdraws

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi attends a news conference during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium June 24, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo

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ROME, July 13 (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s broad coalition government risked collapse on Wednesday if the Five Star Movement followed through on its withdrawal threat, raising the prospect of a snap election.

Five-star figures, led by former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, met on Wednesday to decide whether to stay in the coalition, after issuing a series of political demands ahead of a vote of confidence on Thursday.

After the 5-Star meeting broke down, a party source told Reuters that Conte wanted to speak to Draghi to seek a compromise.

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Italy is due to hold national elections in the first half of 2023 and tensions are rising among members of the coalition that Draghi has led for 18 months.

Speaking at a press conference in Rome, right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini said his party would not continue to support Draghi if 5-Star pulled out of the coalition. Early elections were the best solution, he said.

“If a coalition party does not support a government decree, enough is enough, it seems clear that we should go to elections,” he said.

The centre-left Democratic Party (PD) is also unwilling to form a new government without 5 stars, its leader Enrico Letta told a party meeting, adding that snap elections were the most likely if the current coalition implodes.

Seeking to ease tensions, Draghi said on Tuesday that many of the 5-star’s political priorities overlapped with those of the government, but cautioned against continued demands from coalition partners.

“A government does not work with ultimatums, it loses the meaning of its existence,” Draghi told a press conference, adding that he would not be willing to continue as prime minister if 5 stars steps down. .

Italy could vote at the earliest in the fall, but it would be unusual to hold an election then because it would overlap with the drafting and parliamentary approval of the budget law for the following year.

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Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Angelo Amante, writing by Gavin Jones and Keith Weir, editing by Giulia Segreti and Angus MacSwan

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