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Conte to meet mayors over immigration law - Di Maio

04 gennaio 2019 | 16.10
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Photo: AFP

Italy's populist premier Giuseppe Conte will hold talks with loyal mayors on the government's contested security and immigration law, deputy premier Luigi Di Maio said on Friday, claiming that the great majority of mayors backed the legislation.

"Conte will meet Italy's association of town halls (Anci) - including mayors that support the law as do those from the Five-Star Movement," Di Maio said while vacationing in the northeast mountain resort of Alleghe.

He was referring to his anti-establishment political party, which rules Italy in coalition with the hard-right League party.

"The mayors will also include some first citizens who in recent says have said they don't want to implement the law. But Anci represents the great majority of mayors, who back the law," Di Maio said.

The stringent law toughens rules for asylum-seekers, preventing migrants from applying for residency permits while they are waiting for their asylum applications to be processed - meaning they have no access to services including health care, schools for their children and housing.

A group of Italian mayors has threatened to block the implementation of the law in their cities and may try to have it referred to the Constitutional Court in a major challenge to the populist government.

Palermo's centre-left mayor Leoluca Orlando on Thursday said the legislation was "inhumane" while the centre-left mayor of Naples, Luigi De Magistris, urged Salvini to resign, saying he had "betrayed the Constitution".

The legislation, the brainchild of anti-migrant interior minister Matteo Salvini, was passed by the government in November. It is opposed by some members of the Five-Star Movement, which the non-partisan Conte, a law professor, is close to.

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