Italy's PM-designate Giuseppe Conte fails to form populist government

Italy’s premier-designate steps down after failed Cabinet talks

Cottarelli's likely appointment as prime minister has already attracted the wrath of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and nationalist League, which have denounced a "premeditated" strike from Mattarella and European "lobbies" against their proposed coalition government.

Italy's president on Sunday vetoed a euro-skeptic choice for economy minister, foiling a bid by populists to form Italy's next government and increasing the prospects of a quick return to the polls, 12 weeks after national elections produced a political impasse.

The Italian president was reportedly under heavy pressure from Brussels, Berlin, and other centres of European power to abort the eurosceptic government, which they viewed as a threat to European stability.

Salvini had virtually given an ultimatum to Mattarella over his pick for economy minister, Paolo Savona.

The League and 5-Star, which had spent days drawing up a coalition pact aimed at ending a stalemate following an inconclusive March vote, responded with fury to Mattarella, accusing him of abusing his office. In a new book, Savona, described Italy's adoption of the euro as a "historic error", according to media accounts.

Before Conte or Mattarella had finished their meeting, far-right League leader Matteo Salvini said that the only option now was to hold another election, probably later this year.

Markets rallied on the news that Italy's economy, the euro zone's third-biggest, would not be guided by a government hostile to the single currency.

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"Sticking with the euro is a fundamentally important choice for our country and our young people", Mattarella said in a late-night statement at the Qurinale Palace.

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".

But both Five Star and the League have said they would oppose such an administration in parliamentary votes of confidence, which would trigger a new election.

Roth said he doesn't want to discuss the constitutional situation, but "we hope that there will be a stable, pro-European government in Italy without delay".

Di Maio called for impeachment under article 90 of the constitution, which allows parliament to demand a president step down based on a simple majority vote.

Uncertainty over Italy's political situation has rattled financial markets, driving up the country's borrowing costs and this "increases our public debt and reduces the funds available for public spending", Mattarella said.

Conte, 53, a lawyer and political novice, was named as prime minister Wednesday, but he still had to present a list of ministers that the head of state agreed to before his mandate could become fully effective and his government could seek approval in parliament.

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