Monday, 25 June, 2018

Italy scrambles for political solution with new vote on horizon

LIVE Italy faces political turmoil and possible early elections after presidential veto Euro suffers fresh losses in Asia as Italy faces political crisis
Lloyd Bates | 03 June, 2018, 02:50

An anti-establishment government will be sworn in Friday in Italy after a last-ditch coalition deal was hammered out to end months of political deadlock, narrowly avoiding snap elections in the eurozone's third largest economy.

Following the searing-in ceremony, the new government headed to the prime minister's office for the hand-over ceremony.

The new government is expected to face votes of confidence in the two houses of parliament on Monday and Tuesday.

Italy's populist parties have been given a green light to form a new coalition government, ending months of political and financial instability.

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.

The two enraged parties abandoned their joint bid for power, and on Monday, Mr Mattarella asked former International Monetary Fund economist Carlo Cottarelli to form a caretaker government created to take Italy to planned elections later this year.

In a remarkable case of political deja vu, Italy's President has appointed Giuseppe Conte, a law professor and political novice, as the country's new prime minister, the secretary of the presidential palace announced Thursday.

Italy's president swore in western Europe's first populist government Friday, featuring a mix of anti-establishment and right-wing ministers who have promised an "Italy first" agenda that has alarmed Europe's political establishment.

Conte was summoned by Italian President Sergio Mattarella late on Thursday, and unveiled a list of 18 ministers thereafter.

They presented their proposed Cabinet over the weekend, but Mr Mattarella vetoed their choice of a eurosceptic economy minister, saying the candidate's views put Italians' savings at risk.

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"With the new government, we'll see how to make them respect the rights and dignity of 60 million Italians who want cooperation from Europe, not insults", he said.

A political novice, he inherits a daunting list of issues from his predecessor Paolo Gentiloni, including the financial travails of companies such as Ilva and Alitalia, a Group of Seven summit in Canada and a key European Union summit at the end of the month, as well as the thorny question of immigration.

After fresh elections seemed likely, the parties returned to the table and reshuffled the proposed cabinet, with Savona now the EU Affairs minister.

Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Juncker "deeply regrets" the comments, loves Italy and is committed to working with its new government.

European powerhouse Germany vowed an "open" approach to Conte's team, while European Council president Donald Tusk said his appointment came at a "crucial time" for Italy and the European Union - which is facing its own crisis with the departure of Britain.

Tensions have also risen between the two parties and the President, peaking as Di Maio called for Mattarella's impeachment earlier this week following his rejection of Conte's choice of finance minister.

Cottarelli's tenure as Prime Minister is unlikely to be a long-term solution as he lacks the support of Parliament.

"To affirm the principle of collaboration with countries in difficulty does not mean at all to be willing to leave the euro", the note said.

The Milan stock exchange jumped almost 2.5 per cent as banks hit hard by the turmoil showed signs of recovery.

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