(ANSA) – Rome, July 19 – Premier Giuseppe Conte said Friday
he had not received any request for a reshuffle from populist
government partners Luigi di Maio of the anti-establishment
5-Star Movement (M5S) or Matteo Salvini of the nationalist
League, his two deputy premiers.
There has been mounting speculation that a reshuffle might be
needed to ease the tension between Di Maio and Salvini over
their differing votes on new European Commission chief Ursula
von der Leyen and a row over alleged Russian funding for the
League, as well as Salvini’s specific criticism of M5S
“After the pause of the European electoral contest none of
the ministers ever suggested to me the possibility of a
reshuffle,” Conte said.
Referring to Salvini’s criticism of Transport Minister Danilo
Tonnielli and Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta, Conte said “I
defend my ministers against anyone. If someone has some
criticism to make let him do so in an institutional forum”.
Salvini was not at Friday’s cabinet meeting.
“I’m not just getting by; I’m working on the autonomy reform
and tax reform,” Conte went on.
During the meeting on autonomy at the premier’s office, a
League measure to hire teachers on a regional basis, opposed by
the M5S, was struck down.
Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna are seeking greater
autonomy from the rest of Italy and the move is strongly backed
by the League while the M5S has voiced concerns over Italian
Veneto Governor Luca Zaia said he was “speechless” at the
“umpteenth postponement” of approval for the autonomy plans.
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