Italy’s populist Five Star Movement has called a controversial online vote for Monday to ask its supporters whether the League’s leader Matteo Salvini, its government coalition partner, should face trial on possible migrants’ kidnapping charges.
The vote will be held online on the movement’s digital platform from 9am until 6pm, and the result will determine how the Five Star senators will vote when a parliamentary committee meets on Tuesday to decide whether to block the probe against Mr Salvini.
Prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Catania want to continue an investigation into alleged abuse of power and possible kidnapping against the League’s leader, who is also the interior minister and sits in the Italian Senate.
The Catania probe focuses on the decision taken by Mr Salvini in August, when he issued an order for about 150 migrants to be held aboard an Italian coast guard ship for five days.
A “yes” vote allowing a possible trial against Mr Salvini would likely put the government at risk of collapse, political observers and commentators noted on Sunday.
The populist government formed in June 2018 by the Five Star Movement and The League is under increasing pressure as the two uneasy allies often clash over key policies and crucial decisions, including whether to move ahead with a new high-speed rail tunnel between France and Italy.
Mr Salvini downplayed the online vote during a rally with his supporters in Sardinia on Sunday. "They can do whatever they want,” he said. “What I did, I did to defend the safety of citizens, and if necessary I’d do it again."
The League’s leader – who is enjoying increasing popularity in the polls – has asked the Italian Senate to reject the prosecutors’ request for a trial, leaving the Five Star Movement facing a very difficult choice.
If they deny the authorisation for the probe, they risk losing their political credibility, having built their electoral success attacking the old political establishment and its privileges.
Five Star leader and deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio has also been very critical of lawmakers who used their parliamentary immunity to avoid facing trials.
However, if the party votes in favour of authourising the probe against Mr Salvini, they risk sparking a political crisis as the latest polls show they face a large fall in popularity.
Five Star politicians seemed rattled on Sunday, after the online vote was announced. The movement’s founder and leader — comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo – mocked the vote on Twitter, hinting that the way the question was written was unclear and could confuse Five Star supporters.
“If you vote YES it means NO (to the probe) and if you vote NO it means YES,” Mr Grillo tweeted. Other politicians openly criticised the way the consultation was organised, stressing it could favour Salvini.
The so-called Diciotti probe was launched in August, when prosecutors in Catania placed Mr Salvini under investigation over the migration standoff.
The Diciotti coastal ship had been docked for days at the Catania port as Mr Salvini wrestled with the European Union in an attempt to make other member states take in its mostly Eritrean passengers. The Catholic church, Ireland and Albania eventually agreed to host the migrants.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Mr Di Maio and the Five Star transport minister Danilo Toninelli were also put under investigation alongside with Mr Salvini, Italian newspapers reported on Sunday. The move followed a letter to the Senate written by Mr Conte in which he said the decision to block the migrants was taken collectively.
Click Here: Golf Equipment Online