Feuding within Italian coalition intensifies amid recriminations

Feuding within Italian coalition intensifies amid recriminations

Italy’s coalition partners clashed angrily on Friday over mutual allegations of corruption, with relations between the League and 5-Star Movement at their lowest ebb since they formed a government last May.

The anti-establishment 5-Star accused its far-right ally of threatening to bring down the government. The League angrily denied the charge, but party sources acknowledged the row was taking a heavy toll on their partnership.

The coalition was thrown into turmoil on Thursday when Armando Siri, an economic adviser to League leader Matteo Salvini, was placed under investigation for allegedly accepting bribes to promote the interests of renewable energy companies.

Siri, who serves as an undersecretary in the transport ministry, denied the accusations, but when news of the probe leaked, Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, who is a 5-Star member, stripped him of his government responsibilities.

The unilateral move angered the League and led to furious recriminations between the two parties, highlighting how their relations are deteriorating in the run-up to next month’s European Union parliamentary election.

“…Even today the League is threatening to bring down the government … I’m really stunned,” 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook.

In comments that further inflamed tensions, Di Maio said his party had seen Siri in the past trying to introduce measures that were “a bit controversial”.

“We remember them. When they landed on our desk they seemed strange and we stopped them. … Without us, who knows what would have happened,” Di Maio wrote, without giving any details.


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