UPDATES WITH STATEMENTS OF SALVINI AND RENZI
By Baris Seckin
ROME (AA) - Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that he would resign on Tuesday following an address at the country's senate.
Italy had gone into political crisis after Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called for snap elections and submitted a no-confidence motion for the current government.
In his speech, Conte blamed Salvini for the current political crisis, accusing him of choosing to follow "the interests of himself and his party".
He added that bringing people to ballot boxes each year is "irresponsibility".
"After my speech, I will go to the president in order to submit my resignation," he added.
Following Conte's resignation, President Sergio Mattarella is expected to start political talks in the parliament.
- 'I have no fear'
In response to Conte's blame, Salvini said that he has no fear of the Italians' decision and he will repeat what he did before.
"Let's go to the election as soon as possible," he added at the general assembly meeting.
He also said although they are "accused of fascism", they offered snap election.
"If the prime minister wants to pull the plug of the government, it is his choice," Salvini replied when he left the general assembly.
Main opposition Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi also criticized the government by saying that the populist government has failed.
Senator Renzi, the former prime minister, added that the new government should be formed as soon as possible to avoid a rise in value-added tax.
Tensions within the coalition between Salvini’s right-wing League party and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) have recently mounted over an infrastructure project involving a high-speed rail link with France.
Both parties blamed each other for the deep divisions in the coalition, prompting Salvini to call for new elections.
M5S and the League party formed a coalition government on June 1, 2018 under the leadership of technocrat Conte.
* Writing by Fatih Hafiz Mehmet and Burak Bir