The Italian government fell on 21 July partly over the issue of arms supplies to Ukraine.
The Five Star Movement, the hard-to-define, anti-establishment party, and the largest party in Italy’s parliament, had been in governing coalitions since 2018, but it lost confidence in the current national unity government this summer.
The party also split over Ukraine. Foreign minister Luigi Di Maio, in favour of arming Ukraine, broke away from Five Star in June to form a new party, ‘Together for the Future’.
The head of Five Star (and former prime minister) Giuseppe Conte said in April: ‘We are not against sending weapons tout court [completely], but we are against military aid that is not defensive in logic.’
He added in June: ‘We have contributed by sending three lots of weapons, now it seems to us our contribution would be more precious on the diplomatic front.’
Conte, who has also argued that arming Ukraine is just prolonging the war, resisted a push back in March to increase Italian military spending from 1.4 percent of GDP to 2 percent by 2024 instead of the previously-agreed date, 2028.
In mid-July, Five Star abstained in two confidence votes (partly because the government was not doing enough to help ordinary families deal with the cost-of-living crisis). The government resigned and parliament was dissolved ahead of elections on 25 September.