Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has resigned from the Five Star Movement after quarrels within his party. “Today I and many other colleagues are leaving the Five Star Movement. We are leaving what will no longer be the first force in Parliament tomorrow,” said the 35-year-old late Tuesday evening in Rome.
He spoke of a painful decision that he never thought he had to make. Di Maio wants to set up a new parliamentary group that will support Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government
His exit from the party follows disputes between him and the former prime minister and current star boss Giuseppe Conte, including over arms deliveries to Ukraine. The air between the two politicians has been thick for a long time. Di Maio accused some of the star politicians on Tuesday of having risked weakening the country with their stance.
Di Maio is seen as a supporter of the non-party Prime Minister Draghi’s political line on the war in Ukraine. This made him unpopular with parts of the stars. Conte, on the other hand, recently called for no more weapons to be delivered to Ukraine and instead to rely on diplomacy.
Di Maio himself led the Five Star Movement for almost three years from 2017 until he announced his resignation in January 2020. The often fractious anti-establishment party was then led by an interim leader until Giuseppe Conte was elected the new party leader in August after resigning as prime minister in January 2021.
According to media reports, Di Maio now wants to take supporters of his camp from the Five Star Movement with him to the new party Insieme per il futuro (Together for the future). In order to be able to found this group of parliamentarians in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, he must reach a minimum number of parliamentarians. According to media reports, 60 star parliamentarians have already promised him.
The Five Star Movement has been the largest party in Italy’s bicameral parliament since the 2018 general election and co-governs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s multi-party government. The party suffered a significant defeat in the last local elections.