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          國際英語新聞:Italian PM announces resignation, calling hard-line Salvini "political opportunist"

          Source: Xinhuanet    2019-08-21  我要投稿   論壇   Favorite  

          ROME, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday announced his imminent resignation, following a harsh political dispute within his cabinet coalition.

          Conte's resignation would put an end to a 14-month-long government experience between the far-right, anti-immigrant League party and anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S).

          The crisis was triggered earlier this month by the League's leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who submitted a no-confidence motion in parliament against the prime minister.

          Addressing the upper house, Conte harshly criticized Salvini for such a step, warning it may have serious impact on the country.

          He claimed there were personal and political motivations behind Salvini's decision to pull the plug on the ruling coalition of which his League was part, despite the government's action proving effective.

          "This has been an objectively grave decision, which entails serious consequences for the country's political and economic life," Conte told senators.

          "In this way, the Interior Minister has shown he is pursuing his own interests and that of his party."

          Speaking amid his cabinet ministers, with Salvini sitting hard-faced on his right, Conte accused the League leader to have been looking for a pretext to go back to polls since after scoring a wide victory in European parliament elections held in May.

          In that vote, the League doubled its support from around 17 in 2018 national elections to over 34 percent, while his coalition partner, the M5S, almost halve its consensus.

          The prime minister warned that a political crisis in the middle of the summer would eventually lead to snap elections in autumn, which not only was highly unusual for Italy's institutional and political rules, but would expose the country to "political uncertainty and financial instability."

          "Furthermore, the announcement (of the League's no-confidence motion) came immediately after the approval of the new security decree, and this timeline suggests political opportunism," Conte stressed.

          Strongly advocated by Salvini, the security decree further which tightens rules on immigrants, refugees, and related activities of charities, was definitely approved by parliament on Aug. 5.

          On Aug. 8, the League's leader prompted the crisis by publicly saying the governing majority no longer existed, and it was time to "go back to voters."

          At the end of his speech, the prime minister declared that the experience of his government ended here, and he would remit his mandate.

          "I take the opportunity to announce that, at the end of this debate, I will go to the President of the Republic to inform him about the end of this government's experience, and to present my resignations as prime minister," he said.

          The Interior Minister spoke immediately after PM Conte.

          "Thanks... and at last! I would do everything again," Salvini said in the opening of his speech.

          He explained his decision to pull the plug on the government was due to his coalition partner - the M5S - saying too many "no" to the government's action, for example by opposing the prosecution of the high-speed rail project (TAV) between Turin and Lyon.

          Salvini added he wanted Italy to be "slave of no one" in Europe, and that pushing for snap elections was a right decision because "in democracy, the right way is always to ask Italian people."

          The League's leader also stressed his party was not afraid of the response of voters; yet, it would be anyway available to approve a proposed reduction of members of parliament - a key proposal of the M5S ally - before going to the polls again.

          According to constitutional rules, the prime minister was now expected to see President Sergio Mattarella later on Tuesday to remit his mandate, which would officially mark the end of Italy's current government and the opening of a phase of political consultations led by the head of the state.


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