MILAN -- The Latest on Italian politics (all times local):
Italy is facing a government crisis with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party calling for a new election and urging Italy's president to verify in parliament that the governing majority has collapsed.
Tensions spiraled after a Senate vote on Wednesday defeated a motion by the League's coalition partners, the 5-Star Movement, that sought to kill an EU-funded high-speed rail project known in Italy as TAV that is supported by the League.
Salvini met Thursday with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. After the meeting, Salvini issued a statement saying the TAV vote made clear that the populist coalition had collapsed. He called for a speedy election.
To have a new election, President Sergio Mattarella must first verify that the government has lost support in Parliament. It was unclear when that might happen, since parliament has adjourned for the summer holiday.
Tensions are rising in Italy's government, with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's League saying that new elections are the only alternative to the current governing coalition with the 5-Star Movement.
The League on Thursday complained of deadlock on a variety of issues, including a vote in parliament over the future of an EU-funded high-speed rail link between Turin and the French city of Lyon. The statement said "it is useless to go on," adding that "the only alternative to this government is to give the word back to Italians with new elections."
The 5-Star Movement, which opposes the high-speed train link as too costly and unnecessary, replied that the League's note was "not comprehensible," and asked the party to clearly state what it wants.