It comes in the midst of tensions that affect the populist coalition, consisting of the extreme right-wing party Liga and the left-wing five-star movement.
Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella will now decide after consultations whether there can be a newly formed government or, if not, new elections.
Conte attacks Salvini because he has “put himself in front of Italy”
“Salvini’s decision [to call time for the coalition] is serious, it has relevant implications for the country’s economic and social life,” Conte said Tuesday in the Senate. “He has shown that he seeks personal interest and party interest (above that of the nation).
“If a political force pursues only electoral convenience, it threatens national interests,” he added. “Salvini’s decisions show a lack of institutional sensitivity and a serious lack of institutional culture.”
“The behavior of a political force that submits a motion of no confidence in the government but does not retract its ministers seems contradictory,” he said.
“Those who are responsible for the government should not exploit religious symbols that offend worshipers and undermine the principle of secularism in a modern state.”
Salvini strikes back: “I would do everything again”
“I would do everything I have done again, with the power to be a free man who is not afraid of Italian judgment, those who are afraid of the verdict of the Italian people are not free the salt of democracy The insults of President Conte seem like those of Roberto Saviano or Matteo Renzi. “
Salvini reiterated his call for elections and said: “In a democracy, the most important way is to ask the opinion of our employers, voters: VAT will not rise when a government is in office in November, with a vote in October.”
Later, he swiped at the coalition partner Five Star Movement and accused them of planning against him so they could govern with the Democratic Party instead.
“The government is over because of the politicians of the five-star movement and their ‘no, we can not’ attitude for each dossier over,” Salvini said.
What happens now that Conte has resigned?
Silvia Sciorilla Borrelli, Rome correspondent for Politico, told Euronews that now five scenarios could be played out.
- A “Ursula Government”
Named after Ursula von der Leyen, the President-elect of the European Commission, this would be a centrist government under the leadership of Romano Prodi, including the Democratic Party, Forza Italia and the Five-Star Movement – the same parties in the election of from the Leyen.
The challenges would be that the Democratic Party and the Five-Star Movement would fight to govern together, and it would strengthen the league in opposition.
- A red-yellow government
The Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement (sponsored by comeback kid Matteo Renzi). Possible Prime Ministers could be Conte or five-star President Roberto Fico, the current President of the Chamber of Deputies.
Problems: What role would Renzi play in this new government? And how long would it take?
- A government of “national unity”
Probably led by the President of one of the two chambers (Fico or Elisabetta Casellati, currently President of the Italian Senate), to promote economic reforms and stabilize the country.
But who would support her?
Led by Conte, Raffaele Cantone (former prosecutor and head of the Anti-Corruption Unit) or Enrico Letta (former Prime Minister of Italy) to bring Italy through the budget session and go to the polls this year.
- New elections if none of the options above receive a majority
The end of Salvini?
For Politicos Borrelli it is Salvini who could end up being the biggest loser if the government collapses.
“Italy has never had a government crisis in the middle of summer, it has not gone to the polls for 100 years,” she said.
“It is not very likely that Italian President Sergio Mattarella will send Italians back to the polls in the midst of a complicated budget negotiation with Brussels.
“Well, it looks like there is a chance that the five-star movement and the Democratic Party will be successful in their potential commitment, that Matteo Salvini, instead of becoming prime minister, could be ousted from the government.