The Italian coalition government has won a critical confidence motion in the upper house Senate on a security bill championed by controversial Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.
The bill tightens immigration regulations and limits the right to asylum in Italy. Several members of the Five Star Movement, the coalition partners of Salvini’s League, abstained from voting. Had the coalition lost the vote of confidence it would have been forced to resign, triggering an election. Anonymous sources from inside the government have suggested there will be a snap election in March, with the conflict permeating the Italian coalition government viewed as unsustainable and ultimately destructive.
The coalition partners are still at odds over other aspects of legislation: the Five Star Movement is working to extend the statute of limitations for a number of crimes, including corruption; while the League says an extended statute of limitations would force defendants to undergo longer and more arduous court processes. Five Star representatives are of the opinion that the current system allows too many cases to end while still unresolved.
Meanwhile Five Star’s manifesto pledge to introduce a universal basic income system to support Italy’s unemployed and low income citizens has caused conflict, with League members showing little support for the scheme. The EU and European Commission unilaterally dismissed budget plans drawn up by the Italian coalition government, which factored in funding for a universal basic income, as too ambitious and overly reliant on a high deficit.
In an attempt to calm the tensions, Salvini told reporters: “The jackals [presumably the press; though possibly the EU or the left wing] should resign themselves to the fact that this government will carry on working for the next five years.”
The security bill will now be passed to the Chamber of Deputies for approval: Italy functions on a perfect bicameral system, meaning its two houses of parliament possess exactly the same powers.