Friday, 22 June, 2018

Italy's 5-star leader says president should be impeached

Italian President Sergio Mattarella Italian President Sergio Mattarella
Charlie Simmons | 28 May, 2018, 13:32

"I have given up my mandate to form the government of change", Conte told reporters after leaving failed talks with Mattarella.

Four days earlier, Conte, a little-known academic, had been granted the opportunity by Mattarella to draw up a list of ministers and attempt to form a government.

Mattarella ultimately refused to back the so-called "euroskeptic" for the economy portfolio.

Following Sunday's decision by Mattarella, M5S leader Luigi Di Maio called on the country's parliament to discuss possible impeachment of the Italian president.

But the impasse over Savona has seen League chief Matteo Salvini digging in his heels, suggesting that a new election may be on the cards if the standoff continues.

In a statement late on Sunday, the three-time premier took a much more measured tone about the collapse of the Five Star-League experiment, refusing to criticise Mr Mattarella.

Efforts to form a populist government could be jeopardised by a tussle over Savona between the president and Matteo Salvini of the anti-immigrant League, which is Five Star's junior partner, and lead to early elections possibly in the fall.

Conte's decision to step aside leaves Italy in a political crisis almost three months after March's inconclusive general election.

"I am very angry", Di Maio said.

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"Now I am telling Mattarella that we want a date for new elections".

Cottarelli would be a calming choice for the financial markets, but any technocratic administration would likely only be a short-term solution because the majority of parliamentarians have said they would not support such a government.

Nicknamed "Mr Scissors" for his strict approach to state finances, Cottarelli refused the official auto he was entitled to when he was appointed commissioner for a review of public spending in 2013 under then-premier Enrico Letta.

Despite the recent surge, Italian yields are well below the peaks they reached during the euro zone crisis of 2011-2012, thanks mainly to the shield provided by the European Central Bank's bond buying programme.

In televised remarks to the nation, Mattarella explained that he could not approve of a finance minister who would "probably or nearly certainly bring about Italy's exit from the eurozone".

Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement is considering campaigning together with the far-right League if the nation goes back to the polls, a 5-star source said on Monday.

Mattarella's claims that Savona is a danger to Italy's stay in the eurozone lack any ground, Stefano argued, since Savona's current stance is that Italy can assert its place in European economics without necessarily abandoning the euro.

Italian Premier-Designate Giuseppe Conte leaves the Qurinal after meeting Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Rome, Sunday, May 27, 2018.

A livid Di Maio later called for the president to be impeached.

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