Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

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

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

The populists said Mattarella gave in to pressures from investors and countries such as Germany when he chose to veto their decision to appoint the euroskeptic economist Paolo Savona as finance minister.

A former International Monetary Fund official has been asked to be Italy's new prime minister amid outrage from the country's populist parties.

Mattarella had been under pressure from Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, leader of the other populist party, the League, to greenlight 81-year-old economist, Paolo Savona, who's known for his outspoken criticism of Italy's decision to enter the eurozone single currency two decades ago.

Both Salvini and Di Maio had staunchly backed Savona, and pressed Mattarella regarding the proposed government team in separate meetings with the head of state earlier on Sunday afternoon.

No major political group has been able to form a majority in Italy since elections in March, leaving the euro zone's third-largest economy without a government.

The constitution also gives the president the power to dissolve parliament, a deterrent force which has played a part in numerous prior political crises in Italy - a country which has had 64 governments since 1946.

Germany's deputy foreign minister says he hopes there will be a "stable, pro-European" government in Italy soon, but has acknowledged that his country is in no position to offer advice after its own long-drawn-out effort to form a new administration.

The parliamentary election, held on March 4, failed to produce a clear victor but saw support for traditional parties collapse.

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"The losses in the stock market, day after day, burn resources and the savings of our companies and of those who invest in them", Mattarella said.

League leader Matteo Salvini called for fresh elections.

With the prospect of elections possibly looming in a few weeks or months, Salvini might see a boost in what already has been steadily growing popularity, said political analyst Maurizio Molinari, who is La Stampa newspaper's editor-in-chief.

On Sunday, Savona tried to allay concerns about his views in his first public statement on the matter.

"We are seeing a decent relief rally in European markets, starting with the euro overnight, with the risk of an anti-euro finance minister in Italy being averted", said Commerzbank strategist Michael Leister, though he added it should be put in the context of Friday's heavy sell off in Italian assets.

Mr. Salvini said that he had expected, as of Monday, to be Italy's interior minister, responsible for security and migration, and had been thinking, "I can't wait to send home a whole lot of illegals". That spooked markets. Italy has one of Europe's highest debt ratios and has dealt for several years with various austerity measures.

If he failed to win parliamentary backing, he would stay in office in a caretaker capacity ahead of elections that would most likely be held in September or October.

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