Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Conte again agrees to lead Italy's populist government

Conte again agrees to lead Italy's populist government

Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte presented his list of ministers to President Sergio Mattarella for the second time in a week and the new government will be sworn in this Friday, June first. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted: "Bravo to the coalition".

After meeting President Mattarella, Mr Conte confirmed reports that the new candidate for the key economy minister post would be economics professor Giovanni Tria.

"In a conference earlier on Thursday, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, was reported saying that Italians had to work more and fight corruption to improve the situation in the country's impoverished south".

The tumult raised questions - in Brussels and among investors around the world - about whether the rise in Italian populism and the collapse of traditional parties posed a fundamental threat to the country's future in the eurozone.The formation of the new government will at least temporarily allay those concerns, because it will remove for now the threat that snap elections will be called later this summer, a prospect which anxious investors because it could have bolstered support for anti-EU parties.The populist leaders stepped back from their insistence that Paolo Savona, an 81-year-old Eurosceptic, should serve as finance minister. That likely means an end to Italy's monthslong political crisis and a new government deeply skeptical of the European Union. Italy has never before had a July election: the timing, during the traditional summer holiday season, could affect turnout significantly, and the short notice might cause problems for Italian voters living overseas.

Migrant arrivals to Italy have actually plunged in the previous year under the center-left Democratic Party, which signed controversial deals with Libya to beef up coastal patrols and prevent migrants from setting out in smugglers' boats across the Mediterranean Sea. Seriousness", he said. "We will help them, as we always did.

He urged Italy not to "play this game" of holding the European Union responsible, adding "Nations first, Europe second".

His comments sparked outrage in Italy, with Salvini blasting them as "racist" in his victory speech Thursday in northern Lombardy.

Mattarella vetoed the populist coalition's anti-euro choice for economy minister Savona, causing the two populist parties to abandon their joint bid for power.

The coalition will be headed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, an untested political figure.

"We have full confidence in the capacity and willingness of the new government to engage constructively with its European partners and EU institutions to uphold Italy's central role in the common European project", Andreeva said.

Later, the president asked ex-IMF economist Mr Cottarelli to form a government until fresh elections could be held.

The two parties together won a narrow majority in March 4 elections. The euro has been Italy's currency since 2002, when it replaced the Italian lira.

Franceso Galietti, a political risk analyst based in Rome, told Al Jazeera that Cottarelli would not be able to get the support needed to pass his budget and would essentially be a "lame duck" head of government.

Lorne Cook and Raf Casert contributed from Brussels, and Angela Charlton from Paris.

Like this: