Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said late on Thursday that he will ask parliament for a vote of confidence after Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called for snap elections earlier in the evening, bringing Italy one step closer to a government crisis.
Salvini, who leads the far-right, anti-immigrant League party, has almost doubled his consensus to around 30 percent since June 2018, when he formed a coalition government with the populist Five-Star Movement, which has since halved its support to around 17 percent.
"Salvini came to tell me that the League intends to interrupt this experience in government and to call for a vote in order to capitalize on the consensus his party currently enjoys," Conte told reporters at a nationally televised press conference.
"It will be up to him to explain to the country and to justify to the voters...the reasons that led him to prematurely and abruptly interrupt the government," the prime minister said.
"I will make sure that this crisis, which he (Salvini) started, will be the most transparent ever," Conte added, laying the blame for the government breakdown squarely on the interior minister's shoulders.
Salvini earlier in the evening issued a statement in which he said that "the ruling majority no longer exists" and called for snap elections.
Over the past year Italy's government has been marked by constantly flaring tensions between the two parties, which disagree radically on a number of issues. The latest skirmish took place over a high-speed train project through the Alps, which the Five-Star Movement oppose and the League supports.