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Italy government crisis: PM Conte quits amid coalition row

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Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned following a blistering attack on coalition partner Matteo Salvini.

Mr Conte said Mr Salvini had been “irresponsible” in creating a new political crisis for Italy for “personal and party interests”.

Mr Salvini, the leader of the nationalist League party, had tabled a no-confidence motion against Mr Conte.

He also said he could no longer work with his coalition partners Five Star.

The League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement formed a coalition to govern just 14 months ago with Mr Conte as an independent as prime minister.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella accepted the resignation of Mr Conte and is due to begin consulting party leaders on Wednesday.

Mr Mattarella has asked Mr Conte to remain in office while the discussions continue.

If there is not the the political will to form a new government, the president will dissolve parliament and call early elections.

Addressing the Senate on Tuesday, Mr Conte said the League leader, who was sitting beside him, had been “looking for a pretext to return to the polls” since his party’s success in European elections in May.

In those elections, the League came top with 34% of the votes in Italy, whereas Five Star got about 17%.

Mr Conte warned that Mr Salvini had undermined the function of the government, “which stops here”.

“It is irresponsible to initiate a government crisis. It shows personal and party interests,” he said.

He also criticised Mr Salvini’s use of “combining political slogans and religious symbols at rallies”, calling it “unconscionable”.

“I take this opportunity to announce that I will present my resignation as head of government to the president of the republic,” he added

BBC

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