Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Italian president to meet PM over disputed government lineup

Italian president to meet PM over disputed government lineup

Italy's Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte gave up on efforts to form a government on Sunday after the president apparently rejected his pick for the economy ministry, increasing the likelihood of another election this year.

Explaining his opposition, the president said that it was his constitutional...

Mattarella has not spoken publicly about Savona, but through his aides he has made it clear he does not want an anti-euro economy minister and that he would not accept the "diktat" of the parties.

Mattarella ultimately refused to back the so-called "euroskeptic" for the economy portfolio.

5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio called on parliament to impeach the mild-mannered Mattarella, while League chief Matteo Salvini threatened mass protests unless snap elections were called.

But with new elections all-but certain and the anti-euro League gaining support, polls suggest the populists can only benefit from the chaos - raising the threat of more market turbulence ahead.

Italy's president summoned Conte to his office on Sunday in hopes of breaking a long-running political deadlock and open the way for the formation of a coalition government.

Conte's decision to step aside leaves Italy in a political crisis almost three months after March's inconclusive general election.

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Federica Mogherini says she's convinced that President Sergio Mattarella was serving the Italian people and the European Union by forcing the end of the proposed 5-Star Movement-League government.

"I agreed to all the ministers except the finance minister", Mattarella told reporters at the presidential palace in Rome.

Cottarelli, 64, was director of the IMF's fiscal affairs department from 2008 to 2013 and became known as "Mr Scissors" for making cuts to public spending in Italy. "That is the guarantor of the Italian Constitution".

Newspaper La Stampa reported earlier that Conte, a law professor at Florence University with no political experience, will try to persuade and reassure Mattarella that Savona won't seek a euro-exit or create problems with Brussels. For now, political chaos in Italy reigns supreme.

"The market seems to cheer the news, but I don't share the idea that a caretaker government is that reassuring", Stephane Ekolo, equity strategist at TFS Derivatives, says by phone.

For anyone wondering how the Italian president, usually seen as acting as a figurehead, was able to veto a minister backed by most parliamentarians, here's an explainer of how much power the president has in these situations.

During the financial crisis in 2011, when global markets turned on Italy, President Giorgio Napolitano supported a move to oust Silvio Berlusconi and replace him with former European Commissioner Mario Monti.

If, as expected, he fails to win parliamentary backing, Cottarelli would simply ferry Italy to elections that would most likely be held in September or October.

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