Anti-establishment parties form coalition government in Italy

In an agreement which ended days of political upheaval, officials with the 5 Star Movement and Northern League populist parties formed a coalition government in Italy on Thursday.

Under the agreement struck, Giuseppe Conte will serve as prime minister; 5 Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio will assume the dual role of deputy prime minister and minister of economic development; and Northern League leader Matteo Salvini will hold the posts of deputy prime minister and minister of the interior.

“We will work intensely to realize the political objectives of the government contract. We will work with determination to improve the quality of life of all Italians,” Conte told reporters Thursday.

The culmination of intense negotiations, an earlier accord to form a government with Conte as prime minister fell apart over the weekend after Italian President Sergio Mattarella vetoed the nomination of Paolo Savona to serve as economy minister. Instead, a pro-European Union (EU) economics professor from Rome, Giovanni Tria, will occupy the office.

Following March 4 elections in which League and 5 Star candidates won a clear mandate over economic and immigrant issues, Mattarella intervened and rejected Savona’s elevation to the new cabinet over Savona’s euroskeptic position.

The row inspired some within the 5 Star party to call for Mattarella’s impeachment, caused equity markets around the world to tumble and stoked fears of snap elections.

An academic and economist, Savona has often called for Italy to formulate a “plan B,” in which he envisions Italy’s departure from the EU.

“We need to prepare a plan B to get out of the euro if necessary . . . the other alternative is to end up like Greece,” Savona wrote in his book, “Like a Nightmare and a Dream.”

Savona has also frequently criticized alleged German domination of the economic bloc.  Despite the snub, Mr. Savona will serve as Minister to the EU.

Others named to the Italian cabinet Thursday include:  Enzo Milanesi, an independent who will serve as foreign minister and 5 Star’s Elisabetta Trenta, who will become minister of defense.


[BBC] [EUobserver] [Photo courtesy Tiziana Fabi/AFP via France24]