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Italian president to meet PM over disputed government lineup


Italian lawyer Giuseppe Conte addresses journalists after a meeting with Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella on May 23, 2018 at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome. Italy’s president approved little-known lawyer Giuseppe Conte’s nomination to be prime minister of a government formed by far-right and anti-establishment parties.Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

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.

Conte was seen heading to the parliament building in Rome where he was hammering out a final lineup to present to the president, who has rejected the populist coalition’s proposed finance minister, the eurosceptic Paolo Savona.

The far-right League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) have yet to set up shop in Rome since scoring the most votes in Italy’s inconclusive elections nearly three months ago.

Conte, 53, won Mattarella’s approval as the next prime minister last week.

But the impasse over Savona has seen League chief Matteo Salvini digging in his heels, suggesting that a new election may be on the cards if the standoff continues.

M5S Senate group leader Danilo Toninelli told reporters Sunday that he thought Conte was “very close to finalising (the lineup) this evening”.

If it includes Savona, Mattarella is expected to confirm his refusal, which could prompt him to appoint a caretaker government until new elections can be held.

The 81-year-old Savona’s hostility to the euro — he says it has halved Italians’ purchasing power — has prompted a flurry of warnings from Brussels.

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Sergio Mattarella
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