Government to call confidence vote on Salvini security bill

ROME - Tensions intensify between the League and the Five-Star Movement as the Italian government allegedly plans to call a confidence vote in the Upper House Senate on its security bill. Should the vote be lost, the Italian government will be forced to resign.  

 A vote of no confidence is usually called when government wishes to push back opposition and swiftly pass a bill through parliament.

 The security and migration decree has sparked controversy among several government ministers. It contains “urgent measures” on international protection and immigration, as well as on public security, terrorism prevention and organised crime. The measures include heightened controls on those who rent trucks, and the removal of Italian citizenship from nationalised foreigners convicted of terrorism charges. It also aims to reduce the number of people to be awarded asylum in the country, and reportedly doubles the time migrants can be detained.

 The decree expires on Dec. 3, and was discussed for the first time in the Senate today. According to reports, it is strongly opposed by members of the Five Star Movement.

 Senator Paola Nugnes, a member of the Five Star Movement, said that she disagrees with many measures contained in the decree. Yet she has underlined her belief that the government will make positive progress in the future, and hinted that this will influence how she chooses to vote.

 Senator Gregorio De Falco, another member of the Five Star Movement, has suggested he will vote in opposition. He wants the decree to be amended.

 Undersecretary Stefano Buffagni has attacked De Falco’s comments, and insinuated the Senator should resign if the vote of confidence is successful. De Falco was quick to respond, saying, “what I am and am not responsible for should not be decided by Buffagni.” The Senator also highlighted that the vote is not just a vote of confidence in the decree, but more importantly in the government itself.

 Senator Elena Fattori, a member of the Five Star Movement, criticised those who are to submit a vote of no confidence. She said that their decision is seemingly “a sign of weakness.”

 Five Star Movement Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said the statute of limitations reform "must be approved in the anti-corruption bill, and will not be stripped out to stand alone.”

 “We will find a deal with the League,” he insisted.

 Yet League leader Salvini has called it, “a delicate question that must not be faced with amendments.”

 The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has requested the government adopt a lighter stance upon security and migration. A spokesperson for the Agency declared, “legislators still have time to do the right thing, not only for asylum seekers and refugees, but also to uphold Italy’s longstanding tradition of respecting human rights,” adding, “in its current form, this decree could negatively impact access to protection and rights of asylum seekers and refugees across Italy.”

 The head of the Italian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Nunzio Galantino, has also criticised the decree, namely the fact that it puts security and immigration in the same piece of legislation. “We cannot consider the immigrant’s condition to be automatically that of a criminal,” he said.