(Bloomberg) -- Italy is still at risk of returning to the polls for a general election in September as tensions are still simmering inside the populist coalition, newspapers reported on Saturday.
Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is facing pressure from members of his anti-immigration League party to topple the government before the summer break, while dissident members of the Five Star Movement, his coalition partner, are pushing for an election in the spring, according to newspapers including Il Messaggero e La Repubblica.
“The game is not over” in terms of having elections in September, Salvini was cited by Il Messaggero as saying to his aides. A League spokeswoman declined to comment.
Salvini also warned his allies that President Sergio Mattarella may try to avoid elections if the government collapses and that it’s possible a technocratic government backed by Five Star, the opposition Democratic Party and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party could be installed, Il Messaggero said.
Support for the League has continued to rise in recent weeks. It reached a record 38% in a July 1 SWG poll, very close to the 40% seen by analysts as the minimum to secure an absolute majority in the two houses of parliament. Five Star was at 17.2% in the poll.
Salvini’s party members aren’t worried that the investigation into alleged Russian financing of the League could impact the movement’s popularity among voters, Il Messaggero reported, citing an unidentified minister.
Separately, La Repubblica reported that a group of Five Star dissidents backed by founder Beppe Grillo is targeting elections in the spring. A spokesman for Five Star declined to comment to Bloomberg.
--With assistance from John Follain.
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