Italy president names ex-IMF official as interim PM to form government

28 May, 2018, 14:18 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • European Union - Italy's Conte fights to form team as ally threatens new vote

European stock markets and the euro breathed a sigh of relief Monday after Italy's president vetoed the nomination of a fiercely eurosceptic economy minister, averting a potential eurozone crisis, analysts said.

Mattarella has summoned Carlo Cottarelli, an economist formerly with the International Monetary Fund, for talks Monday, with a temporary technocrat government on the table as Italy faces the strong possibility of new elections in the autumn.

Conte on Sunday remitted his mandate after Italian President Sergio Mattarella nixed his choice of euroskeptic economist Paolo Savona as finance minister.

Mattarella spoke to reporters Sunday night after Premier-Designate Giuseppe Conte announced that he didn't succeed in forming what would have been Western Europe's first populist government.

"I expended the maximum effort to carry out this task", Conte said in brief televised comments after meeting with Mattarella. "The president has asked me to go before parliament with a program that will bring the country to new elections", he said.

Italy has been plunged back into political turmoil after the president vetoed a eurosceptic finance minister, prompting the two populist parties to call for his impeachment.

Politics in Italy took another dramatic turn overnight, as the tentative right-wing coalition which formed government in early May unraveled.

Conte thanked the president and the leaders of the 5-Star Movement and the League seeking for form a coalition government, "for having put me up as a candidate".

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During recent days, Italian bonds have slumped, raising the country's borrowing costs, and Mattarella said this represented "concrete risks for the savings of our fellow citizens and of Italian families".

His decision to exercise this right, which is enshrined in Article 92 of the Italian constitution, enraged the far-right League of Matteo Salvini and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement of Luigi Di Maio. "But someone (under pressure from whom?) said no to us", Salvini wrote in a Facebook post.

"The uncertainty over our position has alarmed investors and savers both in Italy and overseas", Mattarella said, adding: "Membership of the euro is a fundamental choice".

On Sunday, Mr Savona had tried to allay concerns about his views in his first public statement on the matter. Either EU rules change or it makes no sense for Italy to remain a member of the bloc, he said.

European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici was not hostile when asked about Savona in an interview with France's Europe1 radio, saying he would work with whoever Italy named.

The prospect of Italy's government going on a spending spree on promised tax cuts and welfare benefits roiled markets last week.

The previous parliamentary election, held March 4, failed to produce a party with enough support to govern singlehandedly.

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