Italian foreign minister seeks ‘freedom’ in party rift

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced Friday that he has quit the steering committee of the Five Star Movement (M5S), the biggest party in parliament, saying “I want my freedom”.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Italy’s Foreign Affairs minister Luigi Di Maio has said he wants the freedom to speak out against Five Star Movement leader Giuseppe Conte.  Fred TANNEAU / AFP
He had chaired the committee which ensures the once anti-establishment party’s statutes are respected, and validates candidacies for national and local elections.

“In recent days the internal debate has degenerated. They started talking about splits, trials, pillorying. They tried to target and discredit my person,” Di Maio said in a Facebook post.

“I want the freedom to raise my hand and say what is wrong or what could be improved. We win and we lose together because we are a community based on pluralism of ideas, especially in this difficult moment for the Five Star Movement,” he added.

In particular the foreign minister wants the freedom to speak out against M5S leader and former premier Giuseppe Conte.

The two men have been at loggerheads in recent weeks over the presidential election, after the failure of the party’s candidate Elisabetta Bettoni, who had been proposed by Conte.

Incumbent President Sergio Mattarella gained re-election and was sworn in Thursday for a second term, after parliament begged him to stay on to stave off a looming political crisis.

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