Senate votes for Salvini to stand trial in Gregoretti case
An Italian Senate panel on Monday voted to lift former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's parliamentary immunity. He will be facing trial in the alleged "kidnapping" of some 100 migrants aboard a coast guard ship last July.
Published: January 21, 2020, 7:52 am
A definitive vote will be taken by the whole Upper House on February 18, and prosecutors could be given permission to proceed against Salvini over the Gregoretti Coast Guard ship.
Salvini is risking the trial in order to gain support ahead of Sunday’s regional elections in Emilia-Romagna and Calabria. He said he was “ready to go to prison” to defend the principle of defending Italy’s borders.
His opponents complained that he was “playing the victim” by being a martyr to drum up support for Sunday’s regional contests. Salvini is confident that his party will win leftwing stronghold Emilia Romagna for the first time, after winning another leftwing fief, Umbria, last year.
The League leader’s own five Senators voted, on his instructions, against the panel chair’s proposal to deny authorisation for trial. This led to a tied vote, of five against five. In the case of ties, the rules of the Upper House say that the nays prevail.
The majority 5-Star Movement (M5S), Democratic Party (PD) and Italia Viva (IV) boycotted the vote.
The League’s allies voted against it. The four Senators from Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI) and one from Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI), voted in favour of the motion to deny trial.
The Catania court of ministers has requested parliament give it the OK to proceed against Salvini for allegedly abusing his power by failing to allow 100 rescued migrants to disembark from the ship for several days during a long standoff in July.
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