Italy continues to be a nation in flux after President Sergio Mattarella invited Carlo Cottarelli, formerly an International Monetary Fund economist, to form government.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on May 29, 2018

The plan is for Cottarelli to remain in the role until new elections are held, possibly in September or October.

Italy has now been without a government since March, when its elections failed to produce a party capable of forming government on its own.

Italy rejects the appointment of ‘Euroskeptic’ Savona

On Sunday, Mattarella rejected the appointment of Paolo Savona as finance minister.

The Italian President has previously described his role as that of a “political referee.”

The President has the discretion to block ministerial appointments, but the power is rarely exercised.

But Mattarella decided to block Savona, a noted ‘Euroskeptic’.

Savona has previously described Italy’s decision to join the euro as “a historic mistake.”

Mattarella said the appointment of Savona would have disastrous consequences for Italy’s economy and ability to attract foreign investment.

Mattarella said the appointment of Savona would have disastrous consequences for Italy’s economy and ability to attract foreign investment.

“The uncertainty over our position in the euro alarmed Italian and foreign investors,” Mattarella said.

“Membership of the euro is a fundamental choice for the future of our country and our young people.”

On Monday, Cottarelli urged calm.

“The Italian economy is still growing and public finances are under control,” he said.

“Dialogue with the EU to defend our interests is essential and we can do better but it has to be constructive.”

Some commentators have suggested the appointment of Cottarelli will give the country some financial stability.

The country is reeling from high unemployment rates and a generally sluggish economy.

Cottarelli’s tenure as Prime Minister is unlikely to be a long-term solution as he lacks the support of Parliament.

The former technocrat has previously earned the nickname ‘Mr. Scissors’ due to his penchant for slashing government spending.

Conte’s coalition fails to form government

Giuseppe Conte had been proposed for the role of Prime Minister, leading a coalition of the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and regionalist party League.

He was soon embroiled in controversy however, as he was accused of exaggerating his achievements on his resume.

After talks with Mattarella, Conte accepted that his attempt to form government through the coalition had failed and he resigned from his role.

“I have given up my mandate to form the government of change,” he told reporters.

Both Luigi di Maio, leader of M5S and League chief Matteo Salvini reacted with fury at Mattarella’s decision to block their nomination for Finance Minister.

The two antiestablishment parties both vowed to reject the nomination of Cottarelli in parliament.

“It’s madness, and I ask the Italian people to stay close to us because I want to bring democracy back to this country,” Salvini said.

They have also led calls for the President to be impeached for overstepping his role.

However, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the centre-right Forza Italia both rejected the idea of impeaching Mattarella.

As the third-largest economy in Europe, the eventual outcome of the country’s leadership crisis will have a major impact across the continent.