Giuseppe Conte named Italian PM as leading parties form alliance

Giuseppe Conte named Italian PM as leading parties form alliance

The parties came close to forming a government last weekend, before Mattarella "torpedoed" incoming prime minister Giuseppe Conte's choice for foreign minister, says The Daily Telegraph.

It is also likely the next election will be seen as a referendum on pulling Italy out of the euro.

It was a reference to European Union officials, who have made clear in recent days their concerns - in occasionally undiplomatic terms - about Italy's euroskeptic direction.

In the new cabinet line-up, this role will be given to Giovanni Tria, professor of Political Economy at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, the PM-designate said.

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.

From the coalition, far-right League leader Matteo Salvini was named interior minister while Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio is slated to become minister for economic development.

But on Thursday EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned against blaming the EU for all of Italy's problems.

"In Italy, do the Italian voters decide or do the Germans and French decide?"

Di Maio, whose 5-Star emerged from the inconclusive March 4 elections as the largest single party, urged Salvini to drop his insistence on Savona for the economy portfolio and agree to give him another post in the next government. "That means more work, less corruption, seriousness", Juncker said.

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By Friday, EC spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Juncker "deeply regrets" the comments and reaffirmed that he not only loved Italy, but that the European Union executive was committed to working with its new government.

Andreeva said: "There are words and there are facts and we prefer to focus on the facts, which in this case speak much louder than words".

The deal followed an extraordinary few days in which Mr Di Maio called for the head of state to be impeached, two successive prime ministers-designate were tasked to form a government, one of whom quit only to be reinstated on Thursday evening.

"We will work to improve life conditions of all Italians".

Mr Mattarella instead asked Carlo Cottarelli, an unelected former International Monetary Fund official, to put together a caretaker government until elections could be held.Last night Mr Cottarelli stepped aside.

Ex-Premier Matteo Renzi, whose Democratic Party suffered its worst-ever thrashing in the March election, wished good luck to the Conte government while vowing to be the "civil opposition".

His rejection of Savona and nomination of Carlo Cottarelli as caretaker prime minister sparked angry calls for his impeachment as Savona had the backing of the majority of lawmakers.

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

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