0336 GMT February 20, 2020
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday after launching a blistering attack on his own interior minister, Matteo Salvini, accusing him of sinking the coalition and endangering the economy for personal and political gain, Reuters reported.
In a shock move on Aug. 8, Salvini, leader of the far-right League party, declared that his alliance with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement was dead and called for elections.
Salvini had repeatedly promised that the 14-month-old government would last a full five-year term and appeared confident his move would trigger early elections, allowing him to cash in on the League’s surging popularity.
But the gambit could backfire and open the door to power for his rivals.
Politicians from 5-Star and the center-left Democratic Party (PD) are openly discussing forming a new coalition that would push the League into opposition and give Italy a more centrist, pro-European government.
“The interior minister has shown he is following his own interests and those of his party ... his decisions pose serious risks for this country,” Conte, who does not belong to either ruling party, told the Senate on Tuesday before heading to the president’s palace to resign.
Financial markets rallied on Conte’s resignation, seemingly hopeful that a 5-Star/PD coalition can be ushered in and snap polls avoided.
Some investors fear that if Salvini uses elections to form a League-led government as prime minister, he will ramp up spending and set the heavily indebted nation on a collision course with the European Union.