Italian populist leader Matteo Salvini has proposed a national unity government be formed to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak spreading across Italy.
Senator Salvini proposed that the current leftist government join with his populist party in a government of national unity in order to tackle the ongoing health crisis, saying that new national elections should also be considered in the next eight months, Il Giornale reports.
At a press conference yesterday Salvini stated: “There is a national emergency. I said it and I repeat it, with the utmost constructive spirit, we would not want the economic emergency to be underestimated after underestimating the health emergency.”
“If it is not taken seriously immediately, every hour that is lost is an hour that never comes back,” he added.
Salvini was previously Deputy Prime Minister in the Italian government, governing alongside the left-populist Five Star Movement (M5S) — but Five Stars later replaced Salvini’s League (Lega) party with the left-establishment Democratic Party (PD) as its coalition partner, without an election.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 27, 2020
Prior to a meeting with Italian president Sergio Mattarella, Salvini said his preference was to see Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte out of office, adding that there could be as much as 10 billion euros’ worth of damage to the economy due to the coronavirus.
“The sooner we vote the better. Are we able to vote between now and eight months? Likely. But someone else more credible than this government and Conte is needed to accompany the country to the vote,” he said.
Prime Minister Conte, meanwhile, rejected Salvini’s call for unity, saying the government was already unified behind tackling the outbreak.
Italian Democratic Party (PD) deputy secretary Andrea Orlando wrote on Twitter that the current situation requires “maximum unitary effort among all political forces” before contradictorily adding that “no emergency justifies or makes an alliance with the League.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 29, 2020
Salvini’s offer comes after he slammed the government response to the coronavirus last week, saying: “I think of the controls on who enters and leaves Italy: obviously something is not working.”
Cases of the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, exploded in Italy to 400 cases as of Thursday — a 25 per cent increase in just 24 hours.
A total of 12 people in Italy have been killed by the virus.
— Nick Dixon (@NickDixonITV) February 27, 2020