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Italy PM Conte says leader of ruling League party Salvini must explain why he is sinking govt

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday that the leader of the ruling League party, Matteo Salvini, must explain to Italians why he wants to bring down the coalition government.

[ROME] Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday that the leader of the ruling League party, Matteo Salvini, must explain to Italians why he wants to bring down the coalition government.

Mr Salvini, who is deputy prime minister and interior minister, said earlier that the coalition with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement had broken down and he called for new elections.

"It is not up to the interior minister to convene parliament or fix the agenda of a political crisis," Mr Conte said, vowing to go before parliament to ensure "the crisis (Salvini) has unleashed is the most transparent in the history of the republic".

In his brief statement from the prime minister's office, Mr Conte, who is close to 5-Star, said he would no longer accept Mr Salvini's attacks on his ministers and accused him of relying on "slogans" to drum up support.

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"He must ... justify to the voters who believed in the promise of change, the reasons that have led him to interrupt early and abruptly the work of government," Mr Conte said.

REUTERS