Italy's PM-designate Giuseppe Conte fails to form populist government

Italy's PM-designate Giuseppe Conte fails to form populist government

Italian President Sergio Mattarella received prime minister-designate Giuseppe Conte in a meeting that aimed to resolve a days-long standoff over the composition of Italy's next cabinet or lead to the appointment of a caretaker government.

An angry Di Maio, of the 5-Star Movement, made the unprecedented demand after Mattarella rejected a euroskeptic for the key post of economy minister - virtually foiling a bid to form Europe's first fully populist government.

"At this point, with the honesty, coherence and courage of always, you must now have a say", Salvini added in a call for early elections.

Salvini, who was Savona's biggest advocate and a fellow Eurosceptic, said on Sunday that Italy wasn't a "colony", and that "we won't have Germany tell us what to do".

Despite the recent surge, Italian yields are well below the peaks they reached during the euro zone crisis of 2011-2012, thanks mainly to the shield provided by the European Central Bank's bond buying programme.

Conte, 53, a lawyer and political novice, was named as prime minister Wednesday, but he still had to present a list of ministers that the head of state agreed to before his mandate could become fully effective and his government could seek approval in parliament.

Last week, it looked as if Italy was finally about to get a new government after nearly three months of political deadlock following inconclusive elections back in March.

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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The agreement to form a populist coalition came after weeks of fruitless negotiations following the results of the March 4 elections, which did not give any party an outright majority.

"Mr Mattarella's refusal on Sunday to approve a proposed eurosceptic economic minister gave the euro a much-needed push", said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.

Right-wing leader Matteo Salvini, who overcame rivalry with Di Maio to try to forge a coalition with him, told a rally of his League party supporters after learning his pick for economy minister was rejected: "If we're not free to decide, better to go back to vote".

Italian Premier-Designate Giuseppe Conte addresses the media after meeting Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Rome, Sunday, May 27, 2018.

Mattarella vetoed the nomination, but the M5S and League refused to back down, both calling to impeach the president.

Luigi Di Maio of the 5-Star Movement attends a news conference in Rome. "I will evaluate that request in the coming hours, and I will take an initiative", Mr Mattarella said.

The incumbent president has been supported by head of the center-right Forza Italia party, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, as well as the Democratic Party.

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