Leaked reports claim that League leader Matteo Salvini has told fellow party members not to go on holiday as a crisis between the government coalition partners looms on the horizon.
The message was allegedly sent through the messaging app WhatsApp this week with Salvini advising League members, “don’t go away for the holidays” following a conflicting vote between the League and the Five Star Movement (M5S) on the TAV train tunnel project, Il Giornale reports.
Salvini’s party voted with the left-wing Democratic Party (PD) and others to pass pro-TAV motions with 107 M5S senators voting against the motions.
League Senator Massimiliano Romeo hit out at the Five Stars on the floor of the Senate saying: “Whoever votes against the TAV takes responsibility for the consequences that will be in the coming days.”
Following the vote, the PD took the opportunity to demand that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte meet with President Sergio Mattarella and call for new elections, claiming the voting showed there was no longer a majority coalition in the parliament.
Populist League Could Become One of the Most Popular Post-War Parties in Italy https://t.co/h1eZxIDAew
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Several other parties agreed with the sentiment, with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi joining the calls for a new election.
The Forza Italia leader labelled the Five Star Movement’s actions “disappointing” and called on Salvini to formally end the populist coalition saying: “Interrupting this failed experience is, therefore, a gesture of responsibility on the part of Matteo Salvini towards the Italians.”
Stating that the ultimate decision was in the hands of President Mattarella, Berlusconi added: “Forza Italia believes that the best solution for the country is new elections.”
The crisis is just the latest for the populist coalition, with some suspecting in June that the government would not make it past July and expected new elections to be called in the autumn.
New national elections could see a spectacular result for Salvini and his party with recent polls showing the League trending towards 40 per cent of the national vote, putting them in a position where the party could potentially form a national majority alone.