Monday, 19 August, 2019

Italy's Salvini says will submit no-confidence vote

Matteo Salvini has more than doubled support for the League since last year's general election banning migrant rescue vessels from docking in Italian ports Salvini calls for snap polls amid coalition crisis
Patty Aguilar | 12 August, 2019, 11:14

Meanwhile, another former Italian premier, Matteo Renzi, proposed Sunday that a broad spectrum of parties unite behind a technocratic government that could "save" the country from taking an "extremist" path and prepare new elections without undue haste.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party, said on Friday that any attempt to install a new ruling coalition would be unacceptable and reiterated his calls for rapid new elections.

5-Star has more parliamentary seats than the League, but Salvini's party now has twice as much voter support, according to opinion polls, and it has recently threatened to try to capitalise on that surge in popularity with new elections.

"Anyone who loses time is harming the country", the League said in a statement on Friday.

Against that backdrop, by the end of the session, the benchmark Stoxx 600 had fallen by 0.84% to 371.56, alongside a drop of 1.28% to 11,693.80 for the German Dax, while the FTSE Mibtel surrendered 2.48% to 20,324.23.

The latest economic data out at the end of the week in the Eurozone was not much better.

The Spanish humanitarian ship Open Arms remains stuck in the Mediterranean Sea off Italy's southernmost island for an eighth day, with no European government offering safe harbour to the 121 migrants on board.

An election in October would be unheard of and potentially complicate drawing up of the budget at a time when market volatility is already high and rising, pushing up Italy's borrowing costs even more.

Premier Giuseppe Conte said he would convene Parliament, as requested by Salvini to seek a confidence vote, but showed his anger over what he called Salvini's move to "abruptly interrupt the actions of the government".

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"Let's go immediately to the Parliament and verify that there is no longer a majority, as was evident in the vote on the TAV, and quickly return the word to voters", Salvini said Thursday. Salvini's move to sink the government was the main talking point among those on Catania beach in Sicily - and he had plenty of critics.

Long-rumbling tensions between the coalition's populist leaders have peaked in recent days, with the row centred on the financing of a multi-billion-euro high-speed train line between the Italian city of Turin and Lyon in neighbouring France.

In the event of a vote of no-confidence, it would be up to Italy's president to call a new election if he found no way of salvaging the government.

Salvini, who leads the far-right, anti-immigrant League party, has nearly doubled his consensus to around 30 percent since June 2018, when he formed a coalition government with the populist Five-Star Movement, which has since halved its support to around 17 percent.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday that Salvini should explain to Italians why he wants to bring down the coalition government.

"There's nothing to say that we can not make parliamentarians work in the middle of August".

Mattarella may be unwilling to dissolve parliament ahead of preparatory work in September for the 2020 budget, which must then be presented to parliament the following month.

Should that go as Salvini hopes, and the League govern by itself, it would certainly shift the country even more to the right on issues such as immigration, European Union relations and taxes - and mark a significant win for the right-wing, nationalist-populist movement sweeping through the continent since the 2015 migration crisis.

Fitch Ratings is due to review its "BBB" rating on Italy's sovereign debt, which is two notches above junk status and carries a negative outlook.

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