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  • Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini speaks to the media, as Italian Senate is due to set a date to hold a no-confidence vote in the government.

    Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini speaks to the media, as Italian Senate is due to set a date to hold a no-confidence vote in the government. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 August 2019

The Senate is expected to set the calendar for the unprecedented summer political crisis at a session due to start at 6:00 local time on Tuesday.

The Italian Senate will assemble Tuesday with the lawmakers called back from their vacation days, to decide on a date for a no-confidence vote, after leaders of Senate groups failed Monday to agree over a schedule.

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The far-right North League party led by current Interior Minister Matteo Salvini along with its right-wing allies, Forza Italia and Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d'Italia), want a no-confidence vote on Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's government, to be held in the Senate no later than Wednesday.

The league 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 League party who wants to capitalize on his party’s rising popularity told Conte, who belongs to neither coalition, that as the League's alliance with Five-Star had broken down, "the choice should be quickly given back to the voters."

Five-Star and many lawmakers from the opposition center-left Democratic Party (PD) infuriated by Minister’s tactics, want to try to stop him and say his strategy will damage key bills along with Italy’s fragile finances.

“You will see that Italians will make the League pay for the stab in the back it has dealt Italy,” Five-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said on Facebook.

Seeking to gain time, both the Five-Star and PD said Conte should address parliament on Aug. 20 over the crisis and not Aug. 14, as the League has demanded.

Italy’s parliament is usually in its summer recess for most of August and the country has not held a national election in the autumn since 1919 because it is the time the government traditionally uses to compose the budget, which is a complicated and time-consuming process.

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, while the Five-Star party, which was the largest political force in last year's elections, has struggled since the government was formed.

The Senate is expected to set the calendar for the unprecedented summer political crisis at a session due to start at 6:00 pm local time on Tuesday.

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