Salvini, along with its right-wing allies, wanted a no-confidence vote on Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's government, to be held in the Senate before Wednesday. The leader of the League party wanted to trigger snap elections to capitalize on his party’s rising popularity.
“What is more beautiful, more democratic, more dignified than to give the choice back to the people,” Salvini told the Senate in a speech constantly interrupted by shouting and heckling from other parties.
However, the Italian Senate decided otherwise and refused to set aside an immediate date to debate Salvini’s motion of no confidence, resolving instead to allow Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to address the upper house over the crisis on Aug. 20.
The League had announced last week that its year-old coalition with the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement had collapsed. Salvini declared the governing coalition to be unworkable after months of internal bickering, and said that “the only way forward is to hold fresh elections.”
The leader of the far-right coalition’s strategy is not going easily because Five-Star and center-left parties in parliament are seeking ways to avoid an early election and to rather form an alternative majority.
“The time has come to write a new page for Italy,” former prime minister and member of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), Matteo Renzi, told reporters before the Senate debate, saying Five-Star, the PD and other parties should bury their differences and join forces.
An election can only be called by the President of Italy. If Five Star and the Democrats decide to partner, the possibility of a new coalition government becomes real without the League, which would put Salvini on the sidelines and completely hinder his strategy.
Salvini, photographed at the weekend posing for selfies with supporters at the beach, has dominated Italian politics since forming a government with Five-Star. He has promoted a popular racist line on migration and a charismatic, informal "man of the people" public image, seeing his popularity increase.