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Giuseppe Conte refuses to be Italy’s PM - presidential administration

28 May, 2018, 12:32 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • European Union - Italy's Conte fights to form team as ally threatens new vote

Italy fell into political chaos Sunday after the presidential veto of a euroskeptical finance minister caused the apparent collapse of an attempt to form Western Europe's first fully populist government.

Efforts to form a populist government could be jeopardised by a tussle over Savona between the president and Matteo Salvini of the anti-immigrant League, which is Five Star's junior partner, and lead to early elections possibly in the fall.

Italy's novice premier-designate Giuseppe Conte struggled to form a populist government throughout the weekend, stranded between a president who objects to a eurosceptic candidate for the economy ministry and a coalition ally threatening to force early elections.

The Italian president was reportedly under heavy pressure from Brussels, Berlin, and other centres of European power to abort the eurosceptic government, which they viewed as a threat to European stability.

"Mattarella has made it clear that he will not allow any policy that could put Italy on a slippery slope towards a major confrontation with the European Union that could potentially jeopardise Italy's euro membership", said Holger Schmieding, an analyst with Berenberg.

The Italian parliamentary election was held on March 4 and resulted in the M5S securing more than 32 percent of the vote.

European equities markets rose on Monday, led by the Milan FTSE MIB stock exchange, which jumped almost 2 per cent as investors backed Carlo Cottarelli, an economist formerly with the International Monetary Fund, to form a technocrat government.

Mr Cottarelli, known as "Mr Scissors", has been summoned for talks with the president later Monday.

"Sticking with the euro is a fundamentally important choice for our country and our young people", Mattarella said in a late-night statement at the Qurinale Palace.

He will struggle to gain the approval of parliament with Five Star and the League commanding a majority in both houses.

"If there's not the OK of Berlin, Paris or Brussels, in Italy a government can not be formed".

The leader of the nationalist Brothers of Italy party, which had an electoral pact with the League, said the head of state should be impeached, accusing him of abusing his position.

Last week, they agreed on a political unknown, lawyer Giuseppe Conte, as their pick to head their coalition government, although he has no political experience whatsoever.

The 5-Star's Di Maio demanded impeachment under article 90 of the constitution.

On Friday, the closely watched gap between the Italian and German 10-year bond yields, seen as a measure of political risk for the euro zone, was at its widest in four years at 215 basis points.

A former judge of Italy's constitutional court, Mattarella has refused to bow to what he saw as "diktats" from the two parties which he considered contrary to the country's interests.

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