Italy’s political crisis: what happens next?

Rome - Italy's Matteo Salvini has sparked a political crisis by calling for snap elections, but the interior minister and head of the far-right League party has little influence over what comes next.

Here is what can be expected in Rome over the coming days and weeks:


- Back from the beach -


Both houses of parliament -- the Senate and Chamber of Deputies -- have shut for the summer.

Before any vote can be held that could bring down the government, the heads of both chambers will have to convene the leaders of parliamentary groups to lay down a timetable, and give MPs time to get back from the beach.

Senators may still be looking for their suncream and flip flops, as the upper house closed for holidays just two days ago.

Salvini's League says it has tabled a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in the Senate.

Under Senate rules, any such motion has to be addressed within 10 days, so no later than August 20.

The chamber that first voted in the prime minister at the beginning of his term gets first vote on a no-confidence motion.

In Conte's case, he got the nod from the Senate first -- some 14 months ago.

If the motion passes there, it will be enough to bring down the government, without it having to be put to the lower house as well.


- Resignation -


Conte would then have to submit his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, who would ask him to remain on for a few days while consultations with the parties are held.

Mattarella would meet for talks with the presidents of both chambers of parliament as well as the party leaders -- in addition to consulting with his predecessor, Giorgio Napolitano.

This stage usually takes two to three days.

If, as expected, it is not possible to cobble together a parliamentary majority through alliances with other parties, he will dissolve parliament.

This could happen around August 26, according to political observers.

Italy's power struggle


- Ballot boxes -


From that moment on, Italy must vote within 70 days. General elections are usually held after the 60 days necessary to organise postal votes for Italians abroad.

The question remains as to who will lead Italy to the polls.

Mattarella will try to find a solution which suits all parties: Conte could stay on until the vote, or the parties may decide to name an interim prime minister.

Or they may fail to agree, at which point Mattarella could appoint someone himself.