Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi left the NATO summit in Madrid a day early to attend a cabinet meeting of his multi-party government in Rome on Thursday, his official residence announced on Wednesday evening.
On the last day of the NATO meeting, Draghi will be represented by Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini. Tensions within Italy's disparate government coalition have been blamed for the surprise return by Italian media.
Italy's populist Five Star Movement, a member of Draghi's ruling coalition, is currently in deep crisis following last week's resignation of Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.
However, those close to Draghi have rejected speculation that the Italian prime minister was demanding the founder the Five Star Movement, Beppe Grillo, force current party leader Giuseppe Conte out of the party.