Lega Party Calls on Italian President to Elect New Parliament

Anna Jefferson
May 28, 2018

He will face staunch opposition from the two populist forces that won most votes in the March 4 election - the anti-establishment 5Star Movement and the far-right League.

Data last week showed German PMI data fell to a 20-month low in May indicating that economic momentum in Europe's biggest economy was faltering and European Central Bank minutes of its April meeting showed policymakers were anxious about a more pronounced slowdown in the eurozone and political uncertainty in Italy.

In the meantime, Mattarella has reportedly asked a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) official, Carlo Cottarelli, to discuss the formation of an interim, technocratic government.

Savona's criticism of the euro and German economic policy has further spooked markets already concerned about the future government's willingness to reign in the massive debt, worth 1.3 times its annual output. "I don't want to talk about impeachment", Salvini said speaking in a radio interview with Radio Capital. Italy's constitutional court would first have to accept that the issue could be taken up by parliament.

League and 5-Star "have a parliamentary majority".

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Such a solution could only be short term, as most members of parliament have said they would not support such a government. "Then parliament will be dissolved, with elections at the start of 2019", Mr Cottarelli told reporters after meeting President Mattarella.

Later 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said he expected there to be a decision on whether the president would back the government within 24 hours.

"Why don't we just say that in this country it's pointless that we vote, as the ratings agencies, financial lobbies decide the governments?" he asked in a video on Facebook. Europe's single currency pulled off more than 6-month lows, and the closely watched gap between Italian and German 10-year bonds tightened almost 15 basis points.

Italian President Mattarella addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The current President Sergio Mattarella refused to appoint a eurosceptic finance minister, even though he was the choice of the prime minister-designate and had the backing of the majority of parliamentarians. "It's madness", said League chief Matteo Salvini, vowing to "bring democracy back to this country".

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On Monday, Salvini threatened to break his alliance with pre-election right-wing coalition partner Silvio Berlusconi should the media mogul's Forza Italia party vote for the government.

It's not the first time a president has rejected a ministerial nominee. Italian heads of state have made bold moves in the past.

Luigi Di Maio of the 5-Star Movement attends a news conference in Rome.

Markets rallied on the news that Italy's economy, the euro zone's third-biggest, would not be guided by a government hostile to the single currency. In a bid to settle markets, he stressed that Italy's economy was growing, its public debt was "under control" and that he assured his government would prioritize "prudent" management of it.

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