Italy awaits decision on last-ditch deal to avoid snap elections

Jun 03, 2018, 21:15
Italy awaits decision on last-ditch deal to avoid snap elections

Italy searched for a last-minute exit from nearly three months of political turmoil on Wednesday, with its biggest party looking to make a renewed attempt to form a coalition government with the right-wing League, a source said.

At an oath-taking ceremony in the presidential palace atop Quirinal Hill, the new premier, political novice Giuseppe Conte, and his 18 Cabinet ministers pledged their loyalty to the Italian republic and to the nation's post-war constitution in front of President Sergio Mattarella.

The Italian president reappointed law professor Giuseppe Conte as Prime Minister-designate on Thursday in order to lead a coalition government.

The populist parties constituting the new government won the most votes in a March 4 election, promising a sweeping crackdown on the illegal immigration that helped fuel their ascent.

The coalition deal between the Northern League and the Five-Star Movement ended the prospect of new elections.

"All the conditions have been met for a M5S-League government", said the party leaders in a joint statement sent by the Five Star Movement.

If a coalition can not be formed, the country will again hold elections, with the president having to dissolve parliament and host a vote as early as July 29, if most of the major parties have their way. She said she was aware the government has hard tasks ahead, but she's optimistic about the possibility of change.

He was moved to the role of Minister for Relations with the European Union, after Italian President Sergio Mattarella vetoed his appointment as Italy's Finance Minister.

New Labour Minister Di Maio said Friday that "now we will start work to create work".

Economic analyst Lorenzo Codogno said any new possible political government would likely mean tweaks to the coalition agreement, including dropping euroskeptic Paolo Savona as economy minister.

In his remarks to supporters, Salvini pledged to make sending migrants back to their home countries a priority.

The 5-Star-League agenda has no such plans, but Conte made clear he was irked by comments this week by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said Italy had to stop blaming the EU for its problems and must take responsibility to address the poverty in southern Italy.

But Mattarella objected to Conte's choice for the finance ministry, euroskeptic economist Paolo Savona, saying it would alarm investors and have risky consequences for Italy's outstanding government debt. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted: "Bravo to the coalition".

Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio appeared willing to return to the negotiation table on Tuesday night, walking back his call for the impeachment of Mattarella as well.

Financial markets have calmed amid signs that Italy may avoid imminent elections after President Sergio Mattarella gave two populist parties time to figure out whether they can agree on an alternative to a euroskeptic economy minister. "The absorption of European Union funds could be improved so that people can feel the results on the ground more swiftly", the spokeswoman said.

Its ambitious economic proposals - which include a monthly basic income for Italy's poorest and a two tier "flat" tax - have anxious Brussels and financial markets given Italy's massive 2.3 trillion euro ($2.7 trillion) debt.

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