Italy's education minister quits over fund crunch

Italy's education minister quits over fund crunch

Italian Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti. (AFP Photo)

Italian Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement said on Thursday he had resigned because his ministry is underfunded.

Fioramonti wrote on Facebook that he informed Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of his decision on Tuesday, saying he had taken up the portfolio to "reverse... the trend that has for decades put Italian schools, higher education and research in conditions of great suffering."

He said the government had failed "to ensure a financial waterline... especially in such a crucial area as universities and research."

The resignation deals a new blow to the coalition government formed by Fioramonti's M5S party and the centre-left Democratic Party just four months ago.

Dissensions have already arisen in several areas including migration.

M5S leader Luigi Di Maio, who is foreign minister, has come under harsh criticism within the party, with several lawmakers leaving to join the far-right, anti-immigrant League party led by Matteo Salvini.

Media reports say Fioramonti plans to form an independent group in parliament to support Conte that maybe the embryo of a new political party.

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