Giuseppe Conte tells M%S members in Puglia to stand down

M5S members stand down in Puglia

By Region News Southern Italy

Former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared on Thursday that the members of his 5-Star Movement (M5S) holding positions in Puglia would step down. This follows a fresh wave of arrests on Wednesday from members of the southern region’s political arena.

Conte’s announcement deals a new blow to efforts by Italy’s opposition parties to unite in order to challenge Premier Giorgia Meloni’s ruling centre-right coalition.

Alfonso Pisicchio, a former member of the Puglia regional executive and leader of the Sud al Centro party, was placed under house arrest on Wednesday along with his brother in a corruption investigation.

Last week, Conte revealed that the M5S would refrain from participating in primaries to select the centre-left’s candidate for the upcoming local elections in Bari. This followed the resignation of Anita Maurodinoia amid allegations of involvement in a probe into alleged vote buying in the province of Bari. This decision has sparked discontent within the Democratic Party (PD), the other main opposition group.

Bari already faced political tensions after the central government initiated an inspection of the municipal administration for potential mafia infiltration following another investigation.

Bari Mayor Antonio Decaro, a member of the PD, contends that the move, which could result in the dissolution of the city council, is because of the June local elections.

The PD are bringing in a code of conduct in light of the corruption allegations.

“Eradicate corrupt politics”

The M5S is a part of the coalition supporting Puglia Governor Michele Emiliano in the regional assembly. Within Emiliano’s executive, Rosa Barone from the M5S serves as the welfare chief, Grazia di Bari holds the culture portfolio, and Cristian Casili acts as the deputy president of the regional assembly.

“We are witnessing political news that also carries judicial implications,” remarked Conte. “We are not only battling Meloni and her allies. We won’t hesitate to hold accountable those within our ranks either. It’s time for significant change. We need to purge and start anew.”

“We must eradicate corrupt politics,” he emphasised. “We renounce our roles in the regional government; we relinquish all our mandates.”

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