Italy Deputy PM Salvini Says Not Seeking Early Elections

(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s ruling coalition has four more years of work to do, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said, amid reports of fresh tension within the fractious government.

The League party chief told supporters at the northern Italian mountain resort of Pinzolo that he wants to avoid early elections. "I can give you my commitment that this government will go ahead. Still, you have to be two to tango," the Ansa news agency reported him as saying.

The two parties running Italy’s coalition clashed last week after Rome prosecutors opened a corruption investigation into Armando Siri, a senior economic adviser to Salvini. Salvini and fellow Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, of the Five Star party, have already disagreed over issues including migration, security and an Alpine rail project, with conflicts periodically calling the government’s survival into question.

May Elections

Salvini spoke after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte used a Sunday interview with Il Corriere della Sera to say he expects the government will survive and "thrive" beyond May’s European elections. The prime minister also said there are some signs of a recovery in the Italian economy, with a "growth decree" due to be approved April 23.

The most recent round of bickering, which also includes disagreements over funding for the city of Rome, could mean that political issues will take up the full session of a scheduled Cabinet meeting Tuesday, with the growth plan’s approval delayed possibly until early next week, Il Sole 24 Ore reported.

Salvini’s League party has opened up a lead of almost 15 percentage points over Five Star, according to an Ipsos Italia poll also published Sunday by Corriere della Sera. Support for the party reached 36.9 percent, its highest since the 2018 election, according to the poll.

Asked about whether the League’s popularity could lead to Salvini replacing him as prime minister, Conte stood firm. “Salvini is a young guy and he has his whole life ahead of him to become Italian prime minister, but not under this government.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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