ROME (Reuters) – Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Thursday ruled out early elections, saying the coalition was focussed on preparing the 2020 budget in the autumn.
Some observers have speculated that Salvini, head of the right-wing League, would push for a quick vote to capitalise on his success at European parliamentary elections on Sunday, when the League trounced its coalition partner the 5-Star Movement.
“There will be no early election, in September we will be preparing the budget,” Salvini told reporters in parliament.
“If I wanted to bring down the government I wouldn’t spend night and day putting together policy proposals … there are so many things to do, I don’t want an early election.”
Salvini also said the government will respond to Brussels’ concerns over its public finances by citing economic data that will avoid any disciplinary steps.
Rome must respond by Friday to a European Commission letter asking for explanations for Italy’s rising budget deficit and debt.
Salvini said the government would reply “politely” to the EU by citing economic data that will avoid a disciplinary procedure which could eventually lead to a fine.
“The economy is showing signs of picking up,” he said, adding that tax revenues are higher than were expected.
(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Gavin Jones)