Euro rallies on developments in Italy

28 May, 2018, 14:49 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • New premier-designate Carlo Cottarelli

Italian President Sergio Mattarella will receive prime minister-designate Giuseppe Conte at 7 pm (1700 GMT) after a days-long standoff over the composition of Italy's next cabinet, media reports said Sunday.

European stocks gave up early gains and bond yields recovered from lows as early elections loomed in Italy after the anti-establishment 5-Star and League parties abandoned plans to form a government.

The Five Star Movement and the League were the parties that gathered the most momentum from inconclusive March 4 elections, together capturing more than half the vote.

This was the first time in the history of the Italian republic that a president had thrown out the proposal for a government from elected parties, and even critics of the populist victors have acknowledged that the Italian people will take the move as a slap to Italian voters and the entire democratic process.

Salvini and Di Maio had met Mattarella informally on Sunday to try to find a solution.

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Italy's efforts to form a government broke down on Sunday after the president rejected a eurosceptic pick for the key economy ministry, triggering a potential constitutional crisis and opening the prospect of fresh elections.

Mattarella told reporters that it's important for confidence in broader financial markets that Italy signals its intentions to remain part of the euro.

The head of state, who is pro-European, accepted everyone except for Conte's choice of finance minister, an 81-year-old former industry minister names Paolo Savona, who has previously derided the euro as a German plot to control Europe.

Uncertainty over Italy's political situation has rattled financial markets, driving up the country's borrowing costs and this "increases our public debt and reduces the funds available for public spending", Mattarella said.

Cottarelli said in such a case, the government's principal job "would be the ordinary administration of government and to accompany the country to elections after the month of August".

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"Mattarella has made it clear that he will not allow any policy that could put Italy on a slippery slope towards a major confrontation with the European Union that could potentially jeopardise Italy's euro membership", said Holger Schmieding, an analyst with Berenberg.

"If we go to vote (again) and we win, and then we go back to the Quirinale and they tell us we can't go into a government, for this I say, we must put the president under accusation" in Parliament, Di Maio said in a phone call to a late-night talk show.

A livid Di Maio later called for the president to be impeached.

But the stance to block eurosceptic economy minister Paolo Savona boosted sentiment towards the currency. Instead, he said, the powers-that-be didn't like his choice for economics minister so they pulled the plug. "But someone (under pressure from whom?) said no to us", Salvini wrote in a Facebook post.

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