The Wall Street Journal: Italy's President Searches for Solution to Political Impasse

Giuseppe Conte is a lawyer by trade

Giuseppe Conte is a lawyer by trade

Italy's prime minister-designate Giuseppe Conte last night announced his ministerial line-up after being handed a mandate for a second time to form a new populist government.

Giuseppe Conte had left Rome on Sunday, relinquishing his brief role as premier-designate, after Mr Mattarella rejected the populist parties' Cabinet list.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and right-wing League will swear in their cabinet later on Friday, capping a rollercoaster week of political and financial turmoil by reaching agreement with Italy's president to drop a Eurosceptic economy minister.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella talks to the media at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, Italy, May 31, 2018.

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker called Saturday for Conte's new government to be treated with respect, having earlier sparked controversy by telling Italians to work harder and stop blaming the EU for the country's problems. "We will work intensely to achieve the political objectives anticipated in the (government) contract, we will work with determination to improve the quality of the lives of all the Italians".

Following the searing-in ceremony, the new government headed to the prime minister's office for the hand-over ceremony. "It avoids the uncertainty of new elections".

The League has also faced widespread criticism for xenophobic, anti-immigrant policies reminiscent of those forwarded by far-right parties across Europe, including Germany's AfD and France's National Front.

M5S leader Luigi Di Maio and Mr Salvini said in a brief joint statement: "All the conditions have been met for a M5S-League government".

Economist Paolo Savona - whose nomination by M5S and League in their previous government attempt triggered the confrontation with the president, and the failure of their bid - will now serve as Minister of European Affairs, according to Conte.

After the collapse of the M5S-League government bid, the president nominated former International Monetary Fund director Cottarelli to form a technocratic government.

In the latest twist, Di Maio said Wednesday he's willing to suggest a different finance minister.

Another Cabinet pick seen as reassuring to those concerned the populists could set Italy drifting from its strong ties with the European Union is Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi.

The president, who appoints the premier and ministers in Italy, had opposed the populists' choice of a eurosceptic economics minister.

"We are not yet at the point where investors refuse to lend money to Italy", said Roberto Coronado of PineBridge Investments.

Mattarella gave the leaders time to form a coalition government after markets plunged on news of an interim administration that would take Italy to new elections.

During the negotiations, the populists ditched some of their most incendiary campaign vows, such as calling for a referendum on whether Italy should abandon the euro or leave the European Union.

But Salvini, who is surging in opinion polls, appeared to throw cold water on the notion that his party and 5-Star could try again to take power, saying Italy should return to an election as soon as possible. Both will also be deputy prime ministers.

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