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Italy PM ousts junior minister after graft case - source

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Italy PM ousts junior minister after graft case - source
FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gestures during a joint news conference with his Tunisian counterpart Youssef Chahed, in Tunis, Tunisia, April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo   -   Copyright  ZOUBEIR SOUISSI(Reuters)
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ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday dismissed a junior minister involved in a graft scandal, a government source said, despite resistance from the League party which had backed the official.

The issue has created fierce tensions between the right-wing League and its coalition partner, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, threatening to pull the alliance apart as the two parties compete ahead of this month’s European elections

Armando Siri, a transport ministry undersecretary and economic adviser to League chief Matteo Salvini, was put under investigation last month for allegedly accepting a bribe from a wind farm entrepreneur who has been linked to the Sicilian Mafia.

5-Star, whose support is based on a squeaky-clean image and a hard-line against corruption, had insisted the junior minister should go, while Salvini argued that he should remain in government until proven guilty in court.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Francesca Piscioneri, editing by Gavin Jones and Crispian Balmer)

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