League ally: Crisis is chance to move Italy farther to right

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte gives a press conference at Chigi Palace in Rome Thursday evening, Aug. 8, 2019. Italy faced a government crisis Thursday as Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party called for a new election, saying his party's coalition with the populist 5-Star Movement had collapsed over policy differences. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)
Italian premier Giuseppe Conte gives a press conference at Chigi Palace in Rome Thursday evening, Aug. 8, 2019. Italy faced a government crisis Thursday as Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party called for a new election, saying his party's coalition with the populist 5-Star Movement had collapsed over policy differences. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)

ROME — Italy is rapidly edging closer to unscheduled elections that could move the country farther to the right.

Milan's stock market plunged by 2.3 percent Friday morning, hours after Matteo Salvini, whose hard-line League party is the junior coalition member, announced he would no longer support Premier Giuseppe Conte's 14-month-old populist government.

Pushing his anti-migrant agenda, Salvini is already unofficially campaigning to be the next premier, even though no new election date has been set.

Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, a potential ally in any League-led government, says that elections could yield a government determined to make the "politically incorrect reforms that Italy needs."

Salvini wants to capitalize on soaring popularity in opinion polls and local elections. The 5-Star Movement, the other government party, has seen its voter support erode.

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