Salvini warns Italy's governing coalition after regional win

Matteo Salvini's anti-immigrant League party has led a right-wing coalition to victory in regional elections in Umbria, which has voted left for 70 years.

In August Salvini walked out of the coalition government he had formed with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. 

Instead of Salvini's departure from the coalition prompting an election, Five Star teamed up with the centre-left Democratic Party - leading to claims of betrayal by the right in Italy.

Salvini said after the Umbria result the "days are numbered" for Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.  

The vote in Umbria, a small hilly region in central Italy, saw the League party get 37 percent of the vote, the far-right Brothers of Italy get 10 percent and ex-president Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia get 5.8 percent.

In total the right's candidate Donatella Tesei got 57 percent of votes.

Vincenzo Bianconi, the candidate backed by the Five Star/Democratic Party alliance, got 37.5 percent of votes, including 22 percent from the Democratic Party but just 7.4 percent from Five Star.    

A Five Star statement on Facebook said: "We always considered the civil pact for Umbria to be a test, but the experiment did not work."

While the result suggests the coalition may rethink its position in future regional votes, Conte said it would be a mistake for his national government to end because of the result in a region containing 2 percent of the national population.

But Salvini said the government was now "unauthorized" and said that the eighth successive regional elections win for the right was a "chapter in history."

Salvini campaigned hard in Umbria with his national policy pledge of bringing in a flat rate tax which he says is needed to boost the economy - the region was hit hard in the aftermath of the 2007/2008 global financial crisis.

The winning candidate Tesei told a news conference there would be a "lot of work" to tackle unemployment, grow the economy and "free up resources that must be invested to improve the quality of services for citizens and companies."

Source(s): Reuters ,AFP