Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte fired his government’s Deputy Transport Minister in the midst of a political crisis in Italy’s coalition government.
Armando Siri was embroiled in a corruption scandal involving Matteo Messina Denaro, the most wanted man from Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, who is accused of receiving payments to authorise the development of a mafia-linked wind farm in Sicily.
Firing Siri upsets the fragile balance between the governments’ coalition partners – the leftist-populist Five Star Movement and their conservative counterparts Lega. Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of Lega, Matteo Salvini, has come out in support of Siri saying he has “full confidence” in his abilities and Siri’s innocence. Five-Star Leader Luigi Di Maio, who is also a deputy prime minister, demanded his immediate resignation, saying “Politicians should take action before the judiciary does”.