Italy's populist government sworn in

02 June, 2018, 04:18 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Italy news

Italy has a new government, nearly three months after the March 4 general election, with the swearing in of law professor and political novice Giuseppe Conte's 5-Star Movement (M5S)/League executive.

Europe's populists and right-wingers cheered the new government as a slap in the face to Brussels, headquarters of the 28-nation European Union.

Head of the 5-Star Movement Luigi di Maio, and League chief Matteo Salvini will take key ministerial posts.

After weeks of political drama that at one stage seemed certain to lead to new elections, President Sergio Mattarella named Conte, a political novice, as prime minister for the second time in less than a fortnight and approved his revised cabinet.

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.

But in a surprise twist, the populists resurrected the coalition talks and Conte eventually accepted a new mandate for the premiership.

In the new Cabinet, Savona heads the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, while the economy ministry goes to Giovanni Tria, a mainstream economist at the University of Rome.

The 53-year-old law professor was chosen as Prime Minister by the leaders of the populist 5-Star Movement and nationalist League, who formed the new government following elections in March.

The new government coalition consists of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League.

Mr Conte, a professor who has been accused of embellishing his 12-page CV, emerged as a compromise candidate between the two largest parties.

After the initial attempt to form a government failed, Mattarella picked Carlo Cottarelli as interim prime minister.

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"We'll get to work to create work, for those who don't have it, for those that do but without dignity", Di Maio said. Now the head of the Economy Faculty at Rome's Tor Vergata University, Tria has called for a debate on the euro in both Italy and in the rest of Europe.

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The threat of a euro exit could have been deeply damaging to an economy that suffers from massive public debt and had seen its borrowing costs rise as markets grew anxious.

Maurizio Martina, the caretaker leader of the centre-Left party, said: "The populist, Rightist government that is about to be born has a programme that is unsafe for our country".

Nigel Farage, former leader of Britain's UKIP party that played a key role in the Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, wished good luck to the two leaders. The party is considered a political chameleon, with shifting positions and influences from both left and right.

Mattarella said Italy means to "avoid conflicts of all kinds" and have "an ever more positive and protagonist's role" in Europe.

The country's new government is scheduled to be sworn in Friday at 4 p.m. (10 a.m. ET), an event likely to trigger reverberations across Italy.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, earned the ire of Italy's new leaders by stating Italy should "stop blaming" the EU for the country's woes.

"Europe's difficulties are down to the elites who run it: they say they take care of the people but they only take care of themselves".

Di Maio will also serve as labor and economic development minister, and Salvini as interior minister.

"A political government is by far the best solution for the country", Cottarelli said after handing his resignation to the President.


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