News World Italy PM meets president as coalition close to collapse

Italy PM meets president as coalition close to collapse

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met President Sergio Mattarella on Thursday to discuss the political situation as rumours swirled of an imminent government collapse, while investors sold off Italian government bonds.

The coalition of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League has seen infighting for months over a range of policy issues. Those tensions came to a head on Wednesday when they voted against each other in parliament over the future of a contested train link with France.

Conte made no mention of resigning at the meeting with Mattarella, a government source said, prompting a partial market recovery. Conte himself declined to comment on the talks.

At a rally late on Wednesday in Sabaudia, south of Rome, League Leader Matteo Salvini peppered his speech with hints that he might bring down the government, without giving a clear idea of what conditions he demanded to carry on.

The spread between Italian benchmark bonds and safer German Bunds widened early on Thursday by 12 basis points, with traders citing reports that Salvini wanted to sack Economy Minister Giovanni Tria, who is well-regarded by investors.

Conte cancelled a scheduled news conference, and a League source told Reuters that Salvini would make his position clearer by Monday.

5-Star has more parliamentary seats than the League, but Salvini’s party now has twice as much support, according to opinion polls, and it often issues thinly veiled threats to sink the government and try to trigger fresh elections.

However, a government crisis in August, with Italians on holiday and parliament closed for the summer recess, would be unusual.

Mattarella, who is the only person with the power to dissolve parliament, may also be unwilling to do so ahead of the preparatory work in September on the 2020 budget, which must then be presented to parliament the following month. Italy has not held an election in the autumn in all the post-war period.

5-Star would probably have most to lose from new elections.

Its leader Luigi Di Maio cancelled all his previously scheduled engagements on Thursday and accused Salvini of playing “political games” by seeking to obtain more cabinet ministers even though Salvini denies that is his goal.

The League reiterated that it did not want a cabinet reshuffle and listed a raft of areas in which it had a “different vision” from 5-Star, including infrastructure, taxes, justice, regional autonomy and relations with the EU.

“Every day that passes is a day wasted,” it said in a statement, citing the constant bickering between the two parties. “For us the only alternative to this government is to give the choice back to the Italians with new elections.”

Wolfango Piccoli of political risk consultancy Teneo said the League’s declarations should not be taken at face value.

“Salvini’s well-orchestrated ‘summer crisis’ is unlikely to lead to snap polls before year-end,” he said, attaching a 30% chance to this possibility.

“The most likely outcome is a cabinet reshuffle that will sanction the replacement of some M5S ministers with figures either from the Lega (League) or trusted by the party leadership,” Piccoli said.


Top Stories

Updated: Apliki fire extinguished

  A fire which broke out near Turkish-held Lefka and spread to the buffer zone near Apliki has been completely contained, the Forestry Department has...

Labour Ministry opens applications for May 13-June 12 support schemes

  Applications for period 3  (May 13-June 12) of the Labour Ministry's support schemes for businesses, employees and the self-employed have been posted online. In an...

Government condemns vandalism at Limassol mosque

  The government condemns in the strongest manner the vandalism at the Köprülü Mosque in Limassol, government spokesman Kyriakos Koushios said on Monday. "Such actions that...

Limassol: Biker killed in road collision

  A 35 year old biker was killed in a road collision in Limassol on Monday afternoon. He was named by police as Yiorgos Haritou from...

Five more test positive to Covid-19, three from repatriations

The Health Ministry announced five new Coronavirus cases today from a total of 1504 tests, bringing the total number in Cyprus to 949. Dr Leontios...


Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...

Spiced lamb with beetroot salad and scented yoghurt

Lay the lamb on a tray, skin side down. Rub with crushed garlic, sprinkle with spices and ground pistachios, wrap in plastic wrap and...

Easy seafood pasta with white wine sauce

Ingredients: 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1 garlic clove, chopped 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream 1/3 cup white wine 300g spaghetti, roughly broken 300-400g of...

Traditional salads that will blow your mind away

This traditional salads will make you actually love salads! Cyprus may be famous for souvla and kleftiko but if you try the traditional salads with...