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Ex-IMF official Carlo Cottarelli asked to be Italy's new prime minister

28 May, 2018, 16:29 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • European Union - Italy's Conte fights to form team as ally threatens new vote

The decision led to prime minister-elect Giuseppe Conte stepping aside, exacerbating the political turmoil almost three months after March's inconclusive general election.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said he refused to approve populist leaders' choice of an economy minister who has expressed anti-euro views because the appointment would have "alarmed markets and investors, Italians and foreigners". Either EU rules change or it makes no sense for Italy to remain a member of the bloc, he said.

Sensible economics or democratic vandalism?

The head of state, who is pro-European, accepted everyone except for Conte's choice of finance minister, an 81-year-old former industry minister names Paolo Savona, who has previously derided the euro as a German plot to control Europe.

"The uncertainty over our position has alarmed investors and savers both in Italy and overseas", he said.

"Euro zone economic fundamentals are the trunk and the region's political woes are the protruding branches, and both are facing headwinds right now". "If we want to discuss it, then we should do so in a serious fashion".

Savona had said he supported European Union economic governance rules set out in the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties.

Luigi Di Maio, Five Star's leader, has called for Mattarella's impeachment. Although mainly ceremonial, the president does have the power to appoint heads of government and dissolve parliament.

"Italians decide their own government", Moscovici said.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies dipped 0.2 per cent to 93.988 after rising to 94.248 on Friday, its highest since November 14.

On Friday, ratings agency Moody's threatened to downgrade Italy's debt rating, citing a risk the a populist-led government might fail to reduce its public debt.

However, analysts believe the respite could be temporary. But market strategists doubted the rally in the euro would be sustained.

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A boost for the populists?

Italy's President Sergio Mattarella on Monday asked Carlo Cottarelli to try and form a government after an attempt to form a populist coalition failed.

A technical government will still be subject to votes of confidence in both houses of parliament, and the 5-Stars and League made clear Cottarelli wouldn't have their support.

Opinion polls suggest the populists may well benefit from the latest political turmoil.

In response, the 5 Star Movement chief Luigi di Maio announced that the party will launch within Parliament a move to oust Mattarella for having impeded the formation of the government by vetoing Savona and refusing to sign the list of ministers presented by the coalition.

The President's refusal to ratify the coalition cabinet could put Italy on track for yet another election, continuing the political deadlock in the country.

Already, the next election is being touted as a showdown over Italy's place in Europe - with the distinct possibility that voters will seek even more radical solutions.

The greenback was up 0.05 per cent at 109.400 yen after going as high as 109.830 on a slight ebb in risk aversion after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday a U.S. team had arrived in North Korea to prepare for a proposed summit between him and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"Looking further ahead, it is hard to see how Italy can emerge from the ongoing political-institutional crisis in a better place politically", he said.

The choice of Cottarelli, right, who met with Mattarella in Rome, could calm the markets, which had been spooked by the prospect of a Five Star-League coalition.

Mattarella's power play will nearly certainly work to the favor of the populist leaders because it will galvanize voters into reasserting with even greater force their sovereignty. "A narrative that will further polarise society".

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