Italian government wins confidence vote on law targeting migrant rescue ships

Italy's Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini smiles as Italy's government is set to face Senate confidence vote on security and immigration decree in Rome, Italy, August 5, 2019 REUTERS/ Remo Casilli

The Italian government on Monday won a confidence vote in the Senate on a decree targeting charities operating migrant rescue ships, in a victory for Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and his far-right League party.

The government of the League and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement has been riven by internal strife in recent weeks but won the vote by 160 to 57. It would have had to resign had it lost the motion.

The decree drawn up by Salvini, who also serves as deputy prime minister, toughens sanctions on charity ships that seek to bring migrants rescued in the Mediterranean to Italy.

The decree had already been passed by the lower house and so now becomes law just a couple of days before parliament closes on Wednesday for the summer recess.

Some 5-Star politicians have expressed reservations about the decree, and some of its senators did not back it in Monday’s vote.

Their defection was compensated by the fact the centre-right opposition party Forza Italia did not take part in the vote, saying they agreed with the aims of the decree.