The fracturing of Italy's governing coalition resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday.
Italy's League Party, known for its anti-immigrant position, and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement joined forces in 2018 after an unlikely power-sharing agreement that saw Conte, a law professor without previous political experience, step in as an independent prime minister. But that alliance has disintegrated following disagreements over key policies, concerns that the League secretly sought funding from Russia, and what The New York Times described as a "mutinous power play" by Italy's Interior Minister and League Party leader Matteo Salvini.
In an hour-long speech, Conte said Salvini's decision to call for an early election was "irresponsible" and accused him of putting personal and party interests above national ones by way of initiating a government crisis. Salvini spoke after Conte and maintained he would repeat his actions all over again if he had the chance. "I am a free man," he said. "I am not afraid of the judgment of Italians."
Five Star party leader Luigi Di Maio said "the League will have to answer for its faults" one day and that working with Conte "was an honor."
Italy's President Sergio Mattarella will oversee the country's next steps. He could call for early elections, which is what Salvini wants, or he could announce discussions with party leaders on forming a new coalition government, BBC reports. Five Star leaders are reportedly considering entering a power-share with the Democratic Party, a center-left opposition party.