Italy’s ruling coalition faces split over potential Matteo Salvini kidnap trial 

Italy's ruling coalition faces split over potential Matteo Salvini kidnap trial 

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 party, 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.

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