Di Maio parts ways with Movimento 5 Stelle led by Conte.
Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio has left the Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) to establish a breakaway parliamentary group supporting the coalition government of premier Mario Draghi.
Di Maio, a former leader of the once anti-establishment M5S, told reporters on Tuesday night that his departure was a "painful choice" but was necessary due to "weeks of ambiguity" in relation to Italy's support of Ukraine following Russia's invasion.
Di Maio accused the M5S, led by former Italian premier Giuseppe Conte, of undermining government efforts to send weapons to Ukraine and of "weakening" Italy’s international standing.
According to Italian news reports, around 50 former M5S deputies and a dozen senators are expected to join Di Maio in the new group, which could be called Insieme per il futuro (Together for the Future).
Underlining the importance of supporting "European and Atlanticist values", Di Maio pledged that the new group would back Draghi's government "with loyalty and commitment".
The move means that the M5S is no longer the largest party in Draghi's broad coalition which risks fresh instability as a result of the schism.
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