Italian PM-designate fails to form coalition government, resigns

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Rome, May 28 (IANS) Italian Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte has failed to form a coalition government and resigned after President Sergio Mattarella vetoed his choice of economy minister.

Conte and Mattarella had met on Sunday to discuss officials selected by the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement and the rightist League to comprise the new government cabinet for Italy, which has been without a government for 84 days, reports Efe news.

The coalition had wanted to place 81-year-old economist Paolo Savona in charge of Italy’s economy, although the former industry minister has been a key figure in questioning Italy’s participation in the eurozone and the budgetary restrictions the European Union requires of its members.

Mattarella expressed his doubts about Savona although the 5 Star Movement and the League refused to back down from their choice, thus creating a standoff, given that Italy’s president must approve a government’s ministerial picks.

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

In response, the 5 Star Movement chief Luigi di Maio announced that the party will launch within Parliament a move to oust Mattarella for having impeded the formation of the government by vetoing Savona and refusing to sign the list of ministers presented by the coalition.

Mattarella’s decision sparked an unprecedented institutional crisis, with strong opposition being mounted by the 5 Star Movement and the League, which garnered more than 50 per cent of the votes in the March 4 national elections.

Other political forces, however, citing his constitutional presidential prerogatives to protect Italian markets and savers, have rallied to Mattarella’s defence.

Conte, a law professor who had been named as the coalition’s prime minister, resigned, telling reporters that he “gave the maximum effort, attention, to carry out this task with the full collaboration” of both the 5 Star Movement and League.

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