Italy president names novice Giuseppe Conte as populist PM

23 05 18

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella has accepted a political novice as prime minister, paving the way for two populist parties to form a government.

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement and right-wing League chose law professor Giuseppe Conte in a bid to end 11 weeks of political deadlock.

The 53-year-old has faced claims that he embellished his CV, which he denies.

Concerns remain over the two parties, which reject years of EU austerity and want to renegotiate Italy’s debt.

Speaking after emerging from talks with the president, Mr Conte said: “Outside of this palace there’s a country that rightfully awaits a new government and answers. What is about to be born is the government of change.”

He added that he would be the “defender of all Italians on the international and European stage”.

Italy has been without a government since elections on 4 March, because no political group could form a majority.

Two populist party leaders, Luigi di Maio of the Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini of the League, finally agreed a coalition deal after days of talks and later nominated Mr Conte as their candidate to be prime minister.

The coalition deal promises tax cuts, a guaranteed basic income for the poor and deportations of 500,000 migrants – policies that are likely to put the eurozone’s third biggest economy on a collision course with Brussels.

Mr Conte will now form a list of ministers to be approved by the president before a new government can be sworn in. The cabinet will then face a vote of confidence in parliament.



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