(TELESUR) – Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned Tuesday after accusing his own Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, of sinking the ruling right-wing coalition and endangering the economy for personal and political gain.
The premier, addressing parliament after it was recalled from its summer recess to decide the future of the 14-month-old government, accused the far-right League party chief Salvini of seeking to cash in on his rising popularity.
“The interior minister has shown that he is following his own interests and those of his party,” Conte told a packed Senate, a stony-faced Salvini sitting by his side. “His decisions pose serious risks for this country.”
He described Salvini’s actions as reckless and “liable to tip the country into a spiral of political uncertainty and financial instability.”
On Aug. 8, Salvini declared that his alliance with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement was over and called for snap elections.
After the Senate debate Conte, who belongs to neither of the coalition parties, handed his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, who said he would begin talks with parliamentary groups on Wednesday to see if a new coalition can be formed.
Failing that, Mattarella would have to dissolve parliament, three and half years ahead of schedule, to allow for autumn elections.
The consultations with party delegations will begin with minor groups and Mattarella will hear all the main parties on Thursday, concluding with Five Star.
The center-left, pro-European Democratic Party (PD) leadership is also scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss the prospect of working side by side with Five Star. The two parties have been political foes for years.
Politicians from Five Star and the PD are openly discussing forming a new coalition, which could push the League into opposition.