Salvini, Di Maio spar before vote

Coalition partners battling each other for votes

(ANSA) - Rome, May 24 - Deputy Premiers Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio continued to spar on Friday as they wrapped up the campaigns of their respective parties, the League and the 5-Star Movement (M5S), ahead of Sunday's European elections. The leaders of the two parties supporting Premier Giuseppe Conte's coalition government have been engaged in some high-voltage tussles in recent weeks. There has even been talk of the government collapsing after the vote, although both party leaders have denied this. Di Maio, who is also labour and industry minister, said there was no question of the outcome of Sunday's vote changing the dynamics within the government to the detriment of the M5S.
    "The M5S has 36% of (the seats in) the Italian parliament, it has an absolute majority in the cabinet and that is the way things will stay," he said.
    Di Maio also called on Salvini to drop his proposal for the crime of abuse of office, a felony politicians are frequently accused of, to be scrapped or revised.
    He said this issue was not in the contract of government that the two parties signed last year. Di Maio also said his plans for a one-billion-euro package of additional aid for families should be approved next week, adding that the financial coverage for it had been identified.
    Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, meanwhile, said the M5S will have to drop their resistance to a series of measures after the European elections. "I remain true and I'd like it if the other people were too," Salvini said.
    "I hope the noes become yeses from Monday onwards.
    "There should be no more noes to regional autonomy, to the flat tax (pledge), to the TAV (Turin-Lyon high-speed rail link), to the new security decree".