Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Italian populists announce govt deal to take power

Italy's premier-designate called to provide an update on Cabinet Global markets and the Euro his hard by the Italian political stalemate
| 01 June, 2018, 20:48

Di Maio, whose 5-Star emerged from the inconclusive March 4 elections as the largest single party, urged Salvini to drop his insistence on Savona for the economy portfolio and agree to give him another post.

The leaders of two populist parties, Italy's anti-migrant League party and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, earlier announced they had reached a deal that would enable them to form a government.

Mattarella then named Carlo Cottarelli, a pro-austerity economist formerly with the International Monetary Fund, to lead a technocrat government, with another election likely in a few months.

The parliamentary election, held on March 4, failed to produce a clear victor but saw support for traditional parties collapse.

Brothers leader Giorgia Meloni renewed her call that Mattarella give the center-right a mandate to try to form a government that can win a parliamentary majority.

Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio called on parliament to impeach the mild-mannered Mattarella, while League chief Matteo Salvini threatened mass protests unless snap elections were called.

His ministers will be sworn in on Friday before the government faces votes of confidence in both houses next week.

Mattarella said that he has done "everything possible" to aid the formation of a government, but that an openly eurosceptic economy minister ran against the parties' joint promise to simply "change Europe for the better from an Italian point of view".

The centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the centre-right Forza Italia party, led by controversial former PM Silvio Berlusconi, each denounced calls for impeachment.


Giovanni Tria, a little known economics professor, is set to be awarded the key economy ministry job, instead of the eurosceptic economist Paolo Savona who had been vetoed by President Mattarella.

"Italy's government bond yields have jumped and spreads over their "safer" German equivalents have risen, with some contagion to Spanish and Portuguese bonds".

Mattarella welcomed the proposal, according to his staff. League leader Matteo Salvini, who is surging in opinion polls, seemed cool on the idea but did not rule it out.

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League party agreed to restart coalition negotiations after their initial bid to deliver Italy an anti-austerity, nationalist government collapsed over the weekend.

That is what ultimately happened after Mattarella on Sunday night refused to approve the populists' choice of an economy minister who has raised the spectre of Italy having to someday exit from the euro, the European Union currency shared by 19 countries.

Salvini says it took "dedication, coherence, listening, patience, good sense, head and heart" to get a second chance while facing "many obstacles, attacks, threats and lies".

An IPSOS poll in the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Wednesday, showed the League on 25 percent support, compared to around 17 percent in March. Di Maio's and Salvini's electoral victories were a shock, but they were the product of widespread apathy and disaffection among Italian voters.

Global financial markets have been recovering over the past two days after tumbling earlier this week over the prospect of a new Italian election dominated by debate over Italy's future in the euro zone. "But I no longer accept that everything which is going wrong in South of Italy, in Mezzogiorno, is explained by the fact that the EU or the European Commission would not do enough", he said after leaving a meeting in Brussels.

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