The Italian coalition government or two opposing anti-establishment parties is looking increasingly in danger of falling apart as the main coalition partners as the opposition is now calling for snap elections.
Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who is regarded as the stronger of the two coalition leaders, has denied that the government is in crisis.
Italy’s Undersecretary of Transport and Infrastructure, Armando Siri, who is from Salvini’s Lega, or League, party was accused of taking a €30,000 bribe to favour a Sicilian windfarm king, Vito Nicastri, who is believed to be linked to Sicily’s Cosa Nostra head, Matteo Messina Denaro.
Siri is now being investigated in both Rome and Palermo and Lega’s coalition partner, the Five Star Movement (MS5), is calling for his resignation.
Known as one of Lega’s chief ideologues, Siri is partly responsible for the party’s drift from regionalism to nationalism and was also tasked with saving the national air carrier, Alitalia. Following the allegations, however, Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli was later forced to strip him of his government responsibilities.
MS5 head and Deputy Prime Minister, Luigi Di Maio, accused Lega of wanting to “bring down the government,” adding that Siri’s initiatives were always “a bit controversial” but were held in check by MS5
Rome’s MS5 mayor, Virginia Raddi, has been accused of leaning on the city’s waste company executive, Lorenzo Bagnacani, to push the firm’s accounts into the red to obtain public money. Bagnacani said he was sacked after he refused to abide by the mayor’s demands.
Erika Stefani, Lega’s Minister for Regional Affairs, said the mayor should resign if the accusations prove to be true.
Rome’s city council issued a statement suggesting that the mayor was merely asking for the application of regular rules while the executive was interested in collecting bonuses. Raggi personally denies any illegal activity.
Amid an all-out conflict between the coalition partners, Democratic Party chief Nicola Zingaretti called for snap national elections.