Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has called on the leader of the far-right League Party Matteo Salvini to explain to the Italian people why he is seeking to bring down the coalition government by calling for new elections.
“It is not up to the interior minister to convene parliament or fix the agenda of a political crisis…it will be up to Salvini, in his capacity as senator, to explain to the country and to justify to the voters who believed in the prospect of change the reasons that led him to abruptly interrupt the work of government,” Conte said in a statement on Thursday.
Conte’s comments comes after Salvini pushed for new elections, telling the Prime Minister on Thursday that the current government coalition between the far-right League Party and the Five Star Movement no longer holds a majority in parliament.
“I reiterated it today to President Conte: let’s go straight to Parliament to acknowledge that there is no longer a majority,” the League Party leader said Thursday.
“It’s pointless to go ahead with no’s and quarrels, as in the past few weeks, Italians need certainty and a government capable of acting,” Salvini added.
Salvini’s remarks come as tensions mount between the two parties after a split vote on Wednesday over a planned high-speed rail link between Turin and Lyon.
Following the split, Prime Minister Conte held several meetings to discuss the ongoing political crisis within Italy’s ruling coalition, including talks with Salvini, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Five Star leader Luigi di Maio.
Reporting from CNN’s Nicola Ruotolo in Rome and Nada Bashir in London.