Key Italy talks amid fears of snap poll

Aaron Brown
June 3, 2018

Italy searched for a last-minute exit from nearly three months of political turmoil on Wednesday, with its biggest party looking to make a renewed attempt to form a coalition government with the right-wing League, a source said.

New Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, 53, was sworn in at the head of the first populist government in an European Union founding member that was forged by the Five Star Movement and the far-right League.

'The new government will make sure that the rights and the dignity of 60 million Italians will be respected, ' Salvini said in a statement, adding that 'Italians expect from Europe cooperation and not insults'.

Financial markets have calmed amid increasing signs that Italy may avoid imminent elections after the president gave two populist parties time to figure out whether they can agree on an alternative to an anti-euro economy minister.

M5S leader Luigi Di Maio and League leader Matteo Salvini will join the government as deputy prime ministers.

On Thursday, Cottarelli stepped aside saying "it is no longer necessary to form a technical government", paving the way for the Five Star Movement and League party to resurrect their coalition talks.

"Let's find someone of the same calibre as Savona, who would still remain in the government in another ministry", Di Maio said on Facebook after meeting with Mattarella.

He was moved to the role of Minister for Relations with the European Union, after Italian President Sergio Mattarella vetoed his appointment as Italy's Finance Minister.

The Five Star Movement came out as the single largest party in Italy's March elections, capturing almost a third of the vote.

Many anxious that new polls would be a de facto referendum on Italy's membership of the euro.

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On Friday, the 5-Stars' clinched their quest for national power, after five years in Parliament as the largest opposition party.

The possibility that the 5-Star government and the League could come up with a government acceptable to Italy's president buoyed financial markets, despite their eurosceptic views.

Salvini will serve as the new interior minister as well.

In the new cabinet, Savona will serve as Minister for European Affairs.

Maurizio Martina, leader of the Partito Democratico, accused the two parties on Twitter of having "a project to take Italy out of the euro zone, and they did it in a ruthless way".

Italy's premier-designate Carlo Cottarelli has returned to the presidential palace for informal consultations amid continued market turmoil and uncertainty about the prospects of his proposed government.

The ministers feature a mix of 5-Star and League loyalists, with the key economy ministry going to a mainstream economist close to the centre-right Forza Italia party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, Giovanni Tria.

Conte's previous attempt to form a 5-Star and League government at the end of May ended when President Sergio Mattarella used his veto power and refused to accept the Euro-sceptic economist Paolo Savonna as economy minister. President Sergio Mattarella has called to his office the former International Monetary Fund official he'd tapped to run a possible interim government of technocrats.

Tensions have also risen between the two parties and the President, peaking as Di Maio called for Mattarella's impeachment earlier this week following his rejection of Conte's choice of finance minister. "That means more work, less corruption", he said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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