Coalition rift widens as Senate rejects M5S No TAV motion

ROME – The Senate has rejected the Five Star Movement’s motion to stop the Turin-Lyon high-speed rail-link project by 181 votes to 110, political sources said on Wednesday.

 The issue has divided the coalition government, increasing tension between the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League party.

 Also known as TAV, the 270km long high-speed rail line will connect the Italian city of Turin with Lyon in France.

 Fiercely opposed by M5S on cost and environmental grounds, the project is strongly supported by the League, led by Matteo Salvini, as well as Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who last month said new offers from France and the European Union lessened Italy’s financial burden.

 Mr Conte argued it would be more costly to block the Italy-France alpine rail link than complete it.

 The League's Senate leader Massimiliano Romeo warned coalition partner M5S there would be political consequences for those who vote no.

 Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingaretti said, "The Senate session showed that the government no longer has the majority,” and called on Mr Conte to “go immediately to President Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace to report on the crisis situation that has arisen."