Five Star Movement Leader Offers Resignation After Disastrous Election Result

Head of Five Star Movement (M5S) and Italy Vice-Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio answers to journalists questions during a press conference in Rome on May 27, 2019. - The triumph of the anti-migrant League party at the European elections on May 26 raised questions in Italy over the populist government's …

The Five Star Movement’s (M5S) Luigi Di Maio has offered his resignation as party leader following a disastrous performance in the European Parliament elections over the weekend.

Di Maio announced that he would put his leadership on the line, offering to let members of the movement vote on whether or not he should remain as the head of M5S, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.

“In the latest forty-eight hours [people] have said everything against me. Declarations of all kinds from all over. I have also read your many messages. Some of encouragement, others that have made me think. And I thank you for this. Life, for each of us, it is made up of rights and duties,” Di Maio wrote on the movement’s blog.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has also given an ultimatum to populist interior minister Matteo Salvini, whose League party pulled off a historic election win in the European elections. “I will ask Salvini for full public trust. Otherwise, I will tell him that I am not available to stay,” Conte said.

The ultimatum comes after Salvini said he would be pushing to advance several policies which the M5S had previously rejected including the introduction of a flat tax and more autonomy for several northern regions.

“If you want to bring the country into a crash with Europe, assume the responsibilities. He will do it, I will not do it,” Conte said remarking on Salvini’s plan to rebuke the European Union and push for larger deficit spending to pay for tax cuts.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who hinted at possible cooperation with Salvini shortly before the European elections, has been given a task by the European People’s Party, the centre-right group in the European Parliament, to work as a mediator between them and Salvini and recruit his support for their candidate for European Commission president Manfred Weber.

The task may be difficult following Weber’s comments in March in which he advocated cutting off EU money to populist parties like Salvini’s League, arguing that they want to destroy the European Union.

“European parties whose goal is to destroy the European Union, such as the right-wing extremists of Le Pen or even large parts of the AfD, should in the future receive no more money from European pots,” he said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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