New Conte govt takes over - English

Sunday, 03 Jun, 2018

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.

M - After 88 days of impasses and negotiations, two Italian populist parties with a history of antagonism toward the European Union received approval Thursday night to create a government that has already unsettled the Continent's political order, NYTimes reported.

Both will be deputy premiers and hold key ministries: Salvini at interior where he will implement a promised crackdown on undocumented migrants, and Di Maio at a new joint industry and labour ministry where he will roll out a basic income for job seekers and poor families.

Mattarella gave the leaders time to form a coalition government after markets plunged on news of an interim administration that would take Italy to new elections.

"Let's find someone of the same calibre as Savona, who would still remain in the government in another ministry", Di Maio said on Facebook after meeting with Mattarella.

Giancarlo Giorgetti - considered as the right-hand man of League leader Salvini - will be given the influential role of Undersecretary for Prime Minister, Conte said on Thursday. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement, together with far-right League won approximately 50% of the popular vote, but failed to secure the majority needed to win.

Currently, Prime Minister-designate Cottarelli has no major parliamentary support for a stopgap government of technocrats.

"I look forward to carrying on our close partnership with you and to continue deepening it", she said.

The possibility that the 5-Star government and the League could come up with a government acceptable to Italy's president buoyed financial markets, despite their eurosceptic views.

Mattarella had triggered a fresh crisis at the weekend when he vetoed eurosceptic Paolo Savona as economy minister in a previously proposed Five Star-League government.

Public resentment over what was perceived as fellow European Union nations' failure to help ease the financial and logistical burden on Italy in caring for the flood of migrants helped boost the League's popularity.

Salvini had earlier stressed that if his proposed cabinet was rejected - including the already vetoed economy minister - it would be better to go to new elections.

With developments moving quickly, Cottarelli stepped aside and Mattarella summoned Conte, who had returned to Rome earlier in the day after turning over his morning class to a substitute.

After the collapse of the M5S-League government bid, the president nominated former International Monetary Fund director Cottarelli to form a technocratic government.

The parties' new economy minister, another little-known figure, economics professor Giovanni Tria, has been critical of the EU's economic governance, but unlike Savona he has not advocated a "plan B" for possibly exiting the euro. This led to Conte briefly resigning his position as leader of the coalition.

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.

Salvini said he would set straight to work on a campaign pledge to expel many of several hundred thousand asylum-seekers who were rescued at sea from human traffickers over the last few years but are ineligible for asylum.