Italy‘s Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini has suffered a setback in his bid to seize power for the far-right.
Salvini has been seeking to bring down the coalition government in which he has served as deputy prime minister in order to trigger snap elections. He believes he can ride a wave of anti-migrant rhetoric and policy to victory.
But Italy’s Senate on Tuesday refused to set aside immediate time to discuss Salvini’s motion of no confidence in the government, deciding instead to allow Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to address the crisis when he appears in parliament next week.
Salvini’s League party had sought the vote after he pulled the plug on the governing coalition with the Five Star Movement last week, but senators from his former coalition partner joined with the opposition Democratic Party to reject the motion.
An election can only be called by the president of Italy, the head of state. If Five Star team up with the Democrats, it is possible a new coalition government may be formed without the League, and Salvini’s gamble will have backfired spectacularly.
Former Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi argues that such a deal would let Italy make crucial budget cuts in line with European Union rules before year’s end.
“Renzi back in government thanks to the 5-Stars? That’s swindling the Italians, a shame,” Salvini said.
Salvini’s popularity has surged after pushing through laws to criminalise Mediterranean rescue workers, with fines of up to $1.1m to be levied against ships in Italian waters carrying migrants plucked from the sea.