Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has stated that he will be offering his resignation just 14 months after his controversial government, made up of a coalition between The Northern League and the anti-establishment Five Star Moment, were sworn into power.
Usually taking a more subdued approach, Mr Conte accused Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Matteo Salvini of being “irresponsible” by creating a political crisis merely for “personal and party interests”.
Mr Salvini is the Federal Secretary of the Northern League, the Five Star Movement’s coalition partner.
Tensions grew between Mr Salvini and Mr Conte last weekend when the latter refused to sign into law a regulation blocking entry of the Open Arms rescue ship from docking on the migrant hot-spot of Lampedusa.
Mr Salvini appears to have taken his chances by withdrawing from the coalition on 8 August, hoping the government would collapse and snap elections would have to be brought about. He is capitalising on positive approval ratings currently being registered by the League.
Mr Conte stopped this by offering his resignation first. It is now up to the Italian President to determine whether to call for elections.
In an uncharacteristically harsh rebuke, Mr Conte cautioned the Italian Senate that Salvini is obsessed with closing Italy’s borders, that he is only looking after his own interests and said that it is irresponsible to call on voters each year.
He called the prospect of a Salvini premiership as “worrying”.