Italian far-right deputy prime minister calls for snap elections after coalition failure

Matteo Salvini has long been an outspoken critic of migrant rescue NGOs such as Proactiva Open Arms

Italian politician Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right Lega Nord party. (Photo: REUTERS)
Italian politician Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right Lega Nord party. (Photo: REUTERS) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 9, 2019 02:21 PM

Italy's deputy prime minister and leader of the far-right Lega Nord party, Matteo Salvini, broke the coalition with the 5 Stars Movement with whom he has ruled Italy since June 2018 and has called for fresh elections

In a statement addressed to the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, the Italian interior minister wants to "go immediately" to Parliament to find that the government "no longer has a majority." 

Salvini, a Eurosceptic, is strongly opposed to immigration and has long criticized migrant rescue NGOs such as Sea Watch, and the Catalan Proactiva Open Arms. The ship of the latter is currently docked on the Italian island of Lampedusa with 121 rescued migrants on board.

The newly-elected Italian president of the European Parliament, David-Maria Sassoli, wrote a letter to the president of the European Commission urging action to help the stranded migrants on the Open Arms vessel. 

"We need to give word back to the voters quickly," Salvini demanded. The leader of the 5 Stars Movement, Luigi di Maio, has responded to the demand of elections, assuring his political rival that they do not fear the ballots.

For the 5 Stars Movement, the elections should be held after September 9, when they expect to pass a policy to reduce the number of deputies and senators.

The construction of the controversial high-speed train line between Turin and Lyon, which the Lega Nord promoted and the 5 Stars Movement rejected, was the last point of disagreement among the government partners provoking the call for a new vote.