Italian president under fire after vetoing populists’ choice for minister

Italian president under fire after vetoing populists’ choice for minister

Italian president under fire after vetoing populists’ choice for minister

League party leader Matteo Salvini speaks at the media after a round of consultations with Italy's newly appointed Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the Lower House in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2018.

His refusal to accept as economy minister Paolo Savona, who had threatened to pull Italy out of the euro, forced the 5-Star and the League to abandon efforts to form a government.

Italy is headed for a temporary government and early elections as markets greeted the collapse of a potential coalition between two populist parties with strong eurosceptic leanings. "If we want to discuss it, then we should do so in a serious fashion".

While he had approved all their other ministerial picks, Mattarella said he had the right to block nominations that could harm the country.

The League and 5-Star, which had spent days drawing up a coalition pact aimed at ending a stalemate following an inconclusive March vote, responded with fury to Mattarella, accusing him of abusing his office.

The announcement came following a meeting between Conte and the President, Sergio Mattarella, yesterday (Sunday) evening with reports suggesting another election is the only option left. "It's madness, and I ask the Italian people to stay close to us because I want to bring democracy back to this country", Salvini told reporters.

Conte, 53, a lawyer and political novice, picked for prime minister by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League seeking to create a coalition government, was given the green light to form his cabinet on Wednesday, but he still had to present a list of ministers that the head of state would agreed to before his government could seek approval in parliament.

The chance that the new government will weaken public finances and roll back a 2011 pension reform prompted Moody's to say - after markets had closed on Friday - that it may downgrade the country's sovereign debt rating.

The euro and Italian stocks both rose in early morning trading Monday, due to the latest twist in Italy's tumultuous political saga.

Both Salvini and Di Maio had staunchly backed Savona, and pressed Mattarella regarding the proposed government team in separate meetings with the head of state earlier on Sunday afternoon.

After the president blocked Mr Savona's appointment, Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio called on parliament to impeach the president.

The League and 5-Star have said Savona should not be judged on his opinions, but on his credentials.

One analyst said it was an attempt to try to strongarm Mattarella and to send a populist message in defiance of the presidential palace as an Italian institution.

The PM said elections will be held no later than August unless he wins the confidence of parliament.

Under that article, the president would be voted on "for high treason or attacking the constitution" by all members of parliament.

"I hope that we can give the floor to Italians as soon as possible, but first we need to clear things up".

The vote gave the centre-right alliance of the League, Mr Berlusconi's Forza Italia and a smaller party 37%, while the Five Star Movement took 32%.

Related news