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    Italy's Lega Says 'Best Solution' to Ask for Elections, New Gov't Possible in Time for Budget Vote

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    Italy's Lega party is going to call for early elections in the wake of the governing coalition's collapse and Prime Minister Conte's resignation, Paolo Grimoldi, a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies from Lega party, said, noting that a new government could still be formed in time to vote on the national budget at the end of the year.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation, lashing out at Matteo Salvini, the head of Lega who also serves as deputy prime minister and interior minister, for disrespecting the constitution and pursuing his own interests.

    "I think that the words of Conte are not connected with the real situation but are connected with the future opportunity to build a new government with a different majority. Because it is too easy to say that Salvini is not respecting the constitution. But these are words not for Salvini, they are words for the Democratic Party [PD] to tell them: I am able to make a government with you," Grimoldi said.

    He added that the next step would be to organize new elections.

    "They [PD] don’t have figures in the country, they have huge problems in the parliament. Let’s see if they are able or not to make a government. At the moment, we think that the best solution is to ask for elections," he continued.

    After Conte’s resignation, all parties will have consultations with President Sergio Mattarella. From there, there can be two scenarios: either a new coalition is formed, which would then pick the next prime minister, or a caretaker government is appointed to stay in power until the elections.

    The main consideration now about calling early elections is that a government should be in place by the end of the year so that it can vote on the budget.

    "By the law, elections can be held after 60 days [after being organized] ... So if this week we stop the [government's term] ... by the end of October it is possible to have the elections. Let’s consider also one month to have the government, and already in December you can make the economic law [vote on the budget] without any problem. So, from the technical point of view, this all is possible. But of course, they will do their best to waste time and oblige newspapers and public opinion to say: OK, we do not have enough time, let’s make the government," Grimoldi said.

    He noted that Lega party was fully ready to go to the elections and was confident in its support and positions, unlike other political forces.

    Meanwhile, Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S) is likely to support Giuseppe Conte and his circle in order to avoid early elections at all costs and keep their seats in the parliament, Grimoldi said.

    "M5S will try to support Conte, now saying: he is not a member of M5S, let’s support some people around Conte. They have just one goal: not to give to the people the opportunity to go to the vote. … The government is not able any more to bring useful things to the country. And M5S knows it. Now they will do anything just to save their seats in the parliament. I can understand it: 60-70 percent of M5S parliamentarians are for the first time in the parliament, they ‘won the lottery,’ so obviously they do not want to stop this experience," Grimoldi said.

    Instead, the best development for Lega would be early elections, Grimoldi explained.

    Asked about Lega’s intention to enter into a coalition with centre-right parties instead of M5S, Grimoldi remarked that this would be a natural alliance since at the local level Lega had been working with parties like Forza Italia and the Brothers of Italy for a long time — the party's partnership with M5S at the federal level was, on the other hand, an experiment that proved inefficient.

    "We are already inside the coalition [with the centre-right] where we rule Lombardy, Veneto, we rule in many towns, so we are already in a coalition. The experience with M5S was just once. OK, we worked not bad, we had very clear ideas of what to do, but when they said 'no' about big infrastructures, not just TAV [high-speed rail link from Italy to France], but also the train between Brescia and Verona; the new street between Malpensa Airport and Vigevano; the Lombard pedemontana; Venetian pedemontana [highways]; they said 'no' to the reform of justice, they said 'no' to the flat tax, they said 'no' to the autonomy for Lombardia and Veneto, so it is impossible to go on," Grimoldi said.

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    Tags:
    Election, resignation, Giuseppe Conte, Matteo Salvini, Five Star Movement (M5S), Five Star Movement, Lega Party, Italy
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