Italy’s parties pitch for allies ahead of key vote

Brothers of Italy are the inheritors of Fascism and admirers of Benito Mussolini

Brothers of Italy are the inheritors of Fascism and admirers of Benito Mussolini

That development followed a meeting Monday of party whips in the Senate who failed to unanimously agree on the date of the no-confidence vote.

Instead, lawmakers approved an M5S-PD motion calling for a debate next week during which Conte would address the Senate.

Di Maio, who is not a senator, welcomed Salvini's offer to back the M5S reform, but said it was up to President Sergio Mattarella to decide on elections.

Salvini pulled the plug on his ruling coalition with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement last week, seeking to capitalize on his surging popularity by triggering an election that could seen him crowned as prime minister.

"I am at work in the ministry this morning to prevent more than 500 migrants from disembarking from two NGO boats", Salvini wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, as reported by Reuters.

Those parties could not provide the support Salvini needs in the Senate, however.

"What is more lovely, more democratic, more dignified than to give the choice back to the people", Salvini told the Senate in a speech that was constantly interrupted by shouting from other parties.

The 5-Star Movement chose Conte to be prime minister after a 2018 election and is weighing whether to ally now with the opposition Democratic Party. The government in place will have to find about 23 billion euro ($25.8 billion) in financial resources to avoid a planned sales tax hike, which would prove highly unpopular with voters and weigh on the electoral campaign.

If that happens, Italy would "risk a recession worse than that of 2011", Renzi said, citing worrisome economic prospects in China and Germany as additional factors that could cause a rapid downturn in the global economy.

The League and M5S have governed together for a little more than a year.

"Renzi back in government thanks to the 5-Stars?" The prospect has put the Democrats "on the verge of an existential crisis and rekindled rumors about a new party split", Wolfango Piccoli, co-president of Teneo, an analyst firm based in London.

"It would be a disaster for the country", said Renzi, who governed for the PD from 2014-2016.

A tie-up between the Democrats and Five Star is unlikely given that the two have traded insults and have been at odds on nearly every major issue for years. "If the country goes into recession, it's grave for everyone".

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