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Italy’s Populist Gov’t Proposes Law Professor for PM Post

Italy’s Populist Gov’t Proposes Law Professor for PM PostItaly’s Populist Gov’t Proposes Law Professor for PM Post

Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the far-right League on Monday proposed Giuseppe Conte, a little-known law professor, as prime minister to lead their big-spending coalition government. But instead of immediately endorsing their choice, President Sergio Mattarella played for time, seeking further consultations over the appointment of a political novice to head a mooted administration that has alarmed markets and the European Union, France24 reported.

The leaders of 5-Star and the League, who have drawn up a coalition pact aimed at ending months of deadlock after inconclusive elections on March 4, put forward Conte’s name at separate meetings with Mattarella.

“I am very proud of this choice. Giuseppe Conte will carry forward our government contract,” 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said after leaving the presidential palace.

The joint program calls for billions of euro in tax cuts, additional spending on welfare for the poor, a roll-back of pension reforms and a revision of key EU rules, including those regulating immigration and monetary union.

  Market Upheaval

Financial markets have been spooked by the proposals; Italy’s borrowing costs surged again on Monday, while its stock market touched six-week lows on fears of instability in the euro zone’s third largest economy.

“Let us get to work first and then criticize us. You have every right to do so, but let us start first,” Di Maio told reporters after seeing Mattarella. The president could have ended the deadlock by immediately calling in Conte and offering him a mandate. Instead, his office said he would hold a fresh round of talks with the heads of the upper and lower houses of parliament on Tuesday.

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