Senate says No to League, PD and M5S vote together

Give vote back to the people says Salvini

(ANSA) - Rome, August 13 - The Senate on Tuesday voted down a League motion for its no confidence motion in Premier Giuseppe Conte to be voted on Wednesday, with the 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the Democratic Party (PD) voting together.
    The M5S, PD, the small leftwing Free and Equal (LeU) and autonomist parties said they would vote against tabling the motion in the coming days too.
    The League and other centre-right parties came out in favour of tabling the motion between today and August 20.
    The M5S said the League should pull the no confidence motion if it wanted to pass a reduction in MP numbers.
    Anti-migrant Euroskeptic League leader Matteo Salvini earlier said that parliament should vote to cut parliamentary numbers next week and then move straight to a snap election to be held in October.
    Salvini, who pulled the plug on a 14-month alliance with the antiestablishment M5S last week, said ahead of the Senate vote on tabling the League's no confidence vote in Conte that "Italy wants to have certainties and what is more beautiful, democratic, transparent, linear, dignified than giving the word to the people. "What is more beautiful? I don't understand the fear, the terror, the desperation," he said amid protests from the centre-left opposition PD.
    Salvini said parliament should first vote to cut 345 MPs and Senators - a reform that would come into effect in the subsequent legislature - and then Italy should go to the polls "immediately".
    The League leader said the MP cut should be voted on next week and then an election should be called, spelling elections this autumn.
    "Even with the cut, we cane vote in October," he said.
    "Elections immediately for dignity, honesty and coherence," he said.
    He said former PD leader and ex-premier Matteo Renzi was afraid of a snap vote "because of the disasters he made" while premier.
    Salvini accused those who wanted to extend the legislative term by a deal between the PD and his former ally the M5S, and not call a snap election, of being antidemocratic and fascist, a charge frequently levelled at the League.
    He said the M5S should "think three times before allying with the PD".
    "We go with out heads held high to ask Italians for the chance to take this county by the hand for the next five years and we are not afraid of leaving our seats," he said.
    After cutting the parliamentary numbers, a reform proposed by the M5S, "if (M5S leader Luigi) Di Maio keeps his word then we'll go to the vote".
    Di Maio welcomed Salvini's call for the MP numbers to be cut and said that their salaries should be cut immediately afterwards.
    He also said he was "seriously concerned" about a possible VAT hike kicking in unless there is a government in place this autumn to avert it with a new budget.
    Referring to Salvini's description of him as a friend, Di Maio said "real friends are loyal".
    Salvini, who is also interior minister, earlier blasted the possibility that the PD and the M5S could form a government after he pulled the plug on Conte's executive. "(Ex premier and PD bigwig Matteo) Renzi returning to government thanks to the M5S would be a swindle of the Italian people," Salvini said. "It would be shameful".
    Former party leader Renzi proposed the PD forming an administration with the M5S to pass the budget law and a reform cutting the number of lawmakers and take care of ordinary business until elections are held next year. The proposal was dismissed by PD leader Nicola Zingaretti after it caused a big row within the frequently fractious party and revived talk of a possible split that would reportedly see Renzi loyalists forming a separate group. Former culture minister Dario Franceschini, meanwhile, said Tuesday that he was in favour of the proposal made by fellow PD member Goffredo Bettini for the centre-left group to reach an agreement with the M5S for a government that would last for the rest of the current parliamentary term, rather than a few months.
    "Bettini has highlighted a path that is difficult to take, but it is intelligent and I think it is worth trying," Franceschini said via Twitter.
    "It will be full of hazards and we can only try if there is a pact with the PD: (we must) all work like a team, united around the leader (Zingaretti)".
    Deputy Premier and M5S leader Di Maio, for his part, said Salvini is set to revive his alliance with Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI) party for the next election.
    "Today or tomorrow Berlusconi and Salvini will meet at a notary's office to blow the dust off an old alliance," Di Maio, who is also labour and industry minister, said via Facebook. "To go back to the past "No one is denying the report about the notary.
    "What will happen with this agreement? Salvini will sell the League out to Berlusconi - like (Umberto) Bossi did in 1996 - and Berlusconi will sell out his current parliamentarians in exchange for a few positions for the party bigwigs.
    "I say to the League voters - is this the change that you wanted?".
    Forza Italia (FI) is against the idea of reaching an agreement with Salvini to form a single election list, sources said regarding the decisions made during a meeting of senior members of ex-premier Berlusconi's party.
    In a statement, FI said it was "radically contrary" to the notion and would not "renounce its history or symbol".
    Salvini denied reports that he had seen Berlusconi Tuesday, though FI said they had been in touch several times.
    Renzi, for his part, said the Senate vote on the schedule for the government crisis would show a "possible" accord for a new executive, which he called "institutional", with the M5S and possibly smaller leftist parties.
    Renzi said "I have decided to make an appeal to the political forces which has the possibility of being met today".
    "I will not give alibis to anyone to break the accord that the (Senate) schedule will show to be possible this evening".
    Renzi said the "parliamentary arithmetic" in the Senate will show that the majority of Senators is not with Salvini.
    Asked if the PD would come out against a possible 'institutional government', Renzi said "the PD has opened up" to the possibility of such a government with the M5S and others and was debating that hypothesis. Renzi told the press conference that the PD has "definitely opened" to an agreement for an institutional government with the M5S to last the remainder of the legislative term, until 2023.
    When asked by a reporter what would happen if the PD said no to an agreement for an institutional government, Renzi said: "I see that the PD has definitely opened, that talks are ongoing".
    Meanwhile the Senate voted that Conte will brief parliament next Tuesday, August 20.
    The Senate voted down proposals from FI for the Conte no confidence vote to take place later today, and from the League for the no confidence motion to be be voted on Wednesday.