Italy Minister Resignation Highlights Tension in Conte’s Cabinet

(Bloomberg) -- Italian Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti resigned, the latest sign of instability in Giuseppe Conte’s government a few days after members of his cabinet clashed over new rules for toll-road concessions.

Fioramonti tendered his resignation in letter to Conte Dec. 23, he wrote in a post on Facebook Thursday. Fioramonti lamented the lack of funding for the education sector. “The government should have had more courage” in the budget law to boost spending for universities and research projects, Fioramonti wrote.

He plans to leave the Five Star Movement and form his own group in Parliament, while still supporting Conte’s government, Ansa reported. Conte is already seeking a replacement education minister, the news agency reported.

Italy Minister Resignation Highlights Tension in Conte’s Cabinet

Fioramonti’s departure marks yet another source of tension for the government a few days after former Premier Matteo Renzi’s party -- a junior member of the coalition -- opposed new rules on highway concessions and vowed to fight them in Parliament in January. The cabinet failed to agree on the norm which was passed after a seven-hour meeting on Saturday pending a final agreement.

Earlier this month, at least three senators left the populist Five Star Movement to join the opposition League party. The defections left the Five Star-Democratic Party coalition with a razor-thin majority in the upper house.

Fioramonti, who left after Parliament approved the 2020 budget without fulfilling his request to boost education spending by 3 billion euros, had planned to introduce lessons at Italian schools on climate change. He also wanted to fund more spending for education with additional taxes on plastic and sugary foods.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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