Populist former interior minister Matteo Salvini launched an attack on Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stating that he may have left his post as a minister but he kept his dignity.
Salvini, who leads the League, Italy’s most popular party in opinion polling, said Mr Conte “has changed completely. In 15 days he did and said the exact opposite with respect to the last 15 months,” Il Giornale reports.
“I gladly leave their palaces and messes to them, I’ll hold on to the real Italy and the affection of millions of Italians. Always ahead, head-on,” Salvini added.
He went on to discuss the final days of the previous coalition claiming that his former coalition partners, the Five Star Movement (M5S), had “chosen Macron and Merkel instead of Italy”.
“Now they have formed this government but it will not last long and sooner or later the Italians will be able to vote. I do not think they will go far, they said it: this government was born to keep Salvini away [from power]. We will try to limit their damage.” he said.
“I would not even buy an ice cream cone from Conte today,” he added.
It is expected that part of the new coalition deal between the M5S and the establishment Democratic Party (PD) will involve the reopening of ports to migrant transport NGOs which Salvini closed last year.
Several prominent figures in the European Union establishment have also celebrated the new coalition which Conte said earlier this week would look to be more active within the EU.
Conte’s speech in the Chamber of Deputies was met with heckling from members of the League and the national-conservative Brothers of Italy whose leader Giorgia Meloni held a rally alongside Salvini outside of the chamber.
Both Salvini and Meloni have demanded fresh elections with Meloni stating: “They know they are doing something the Italians don’t want and because they know they can’t win a free competition in the elections, they steal it. They are thieves of democracy, thieves of sovereignty, thieves.”