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Italy

Anti-establishment politician Giuseppe Conte sworn in as Italian prime minister at head of new populist government

Conte, a political novice, will head a government of ministers from the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the far-right League party, a coalition that has raised concerns

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 June, 2018, 11:23pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 June, 2018, 4:36am

Giuseppe Conte was sworn in as prime minister of Italy’s new populist government Friday after a last-ditch coalition deal ended months of political deadlock and narrowly avoided snap elections in the euro zone’s third largest economy.

Conte, an academic and political novice, will head a government of ministers from the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League party.

The first populist coalition in a founding member nation of the European Union has raised concerns in some European quarters.

The 53-year-old was sworn in along with his cabinet, which will place M5S leader Luigi Di Maio and League chief Matteo Salvini in key ministerial posts.

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After weeks of political drama that at one stage seemed certain to lead to new elections, President Sergio Mattarella named Conte, a political novice, as prime minister for the second time in less than a fortnight and approved his revised cabinet.

Conte had abandoned his original mandate as prime minister on Sunday after Mattarella vetoed Paolo Savona as economy minister because of his hostility to the euro, prompting the collapse of the Five Star-League joint government deal.

But in a surprise twist, the populists resurrected the coalition talks and Conte eventually accepted a new mandate for the premiership.

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He presented Mattarella with a revised list of ministers – with Savona moved to EU Affairs – that the head of state quickly accepted.

Italian media reported that the line-up will face a vote of confidence on Monday or Tuesday in both houses of parliament, which it is almost certain to win thanks to the populists’ combined majority.