Italy's populist coalition takes 2nd stab at forming government
Italy's populist coalition takes 2nd stab at forming government
GETTYSavona is expected to be confirmed as Italy's new finance minister next week
01 June, 2018, 20:50
"I have given up my mandate to form the government of change", said lawyer and political novice Giuseppe Conte, 53, plunging the country into a political crisis almost three months after March's inconclusive general election.
Two populist parties failed to form a government on Sunday after Italy's president refused to accept their euroskeptic nominee for the post of finance minister.
In a televised address, Mattarella said he had rejected the coalition's candidate for the crucial economy portfolio, 81-year-old Paolo Savona, because the economist had threatened to pull Italy out of the euro zone.
Cottarelli's statement about renewed chances for a political government was issued after he consulted briefly with Mattarella, having asked for more time to come up with a proposed list of cabinet ministers.
The parliamentary election, held on March 4, failed to produce a clear victor but saw support for traditional parties collapse.
When Mattarella made known his rejection, Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte abandoned his effort to form a government.
Currently, Prime Minister-designate Cottarelli has no major parliamentary support for a stopgap government of technocrats.
Both are seeking to dictate terms on the next government and on the alternative - a repeat election - as they wrestle for dominance.
"The upcoming elections will not be political, but instead a real and true referendum. between who wants Italy to be a free country and who wants it to be servile and enslaved", said League leader Matteo Salvini on Monday, raging against the European establishment.
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There were even calls for Mattarella's impeachment earlier in the week from the M5S, but the party's leader has now said that option is off the table.
President mattarella said he could not appoint the eurosceptic paolo savona to the post, citing concern from investors at home and overseas, and tasked prime minister cottarelli with forming a government instead.
With Mr Salvini unwilling to consider a different economy minister, the League-5-Star lineup collapsed.
Salvini, the head of the League, has said he would "seriously consider" an offer on Wednesday from 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio to resurrect their bid to govern together.
"Without promising any miracles, I can say that, after the first months of this government of change, I would like us to have a country with a little less tax and a little more security, a few more jobs and a few less illegal immigrants", said a gleeful Salvini at a rally after the announcement. The turmoil has also sent Italy's 10-year bond yields more than 300 basis points above Germany's - around a five-year high - reflecting investor concerns.
The League, which won 17 percent of the vote in March, would surge in any early ballot, polls show, while support for Five Star remained strong, above 30 percent. Di Maio has claimed repeatedly that he does not intend to lead Italy out of the Euro, notwithstanding the fact that this was an MS5 official policy for years.
However, he added; "I'll go out on a limb and suggest there are a bunch of experienced political operatives in Europe and some neophytes in Italy who might just have got the shock of their lives on how quickly this situation developed and we'll see some backpedalling".
Global financial markets have been recovering over the past two days after tumbling earlier this week over the prospect of a new Italian election dominated by debate over Italy's future in the euro zone.
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