In a rare move, President Sergio Mattarella said he could not appoint the Eurosceptic Paolo Savona, citing concerns by investors. In a televised address, Mattarella said he had rejected the candidate, 81-year-old eurosceptic economist Paolo Savona, because he had threatened to pull Italy out of the euro zone.
“The uncertainty over our position has alarmed investors and savers both in Italy and abroad,” Mattarella said, adding: “Membership of the euro is a fundamental choice. If we want to discuss it, then we should do so in a serious fashion.” 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.
The President’s decision ended a bid by Italy’s two populist parties to form a coalition, Mr Mattarella may now appoint a stop-gap prime minster with early elections looking increasingly likely. The League and 5-Star, which had spent days drawing up a coalition pact aimed at ending a stalemate following an inconclusive March vote, responded with fury to Mattarella, accusing him of abusing his office.
5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio called on parliament to impeach the mild-mannered Mattarella, while League chief Matteo Salvini threatened mass protests unless snap elections were called. “If there’s not the OK of Berlin, Paris or Brussels, a government cannot be formed in Italy. It’s madness, and I ask the Italian people to stay close to us because I want to bring democracy back to this country,” Salvini told reporters.
In response to impeachments news and reactions from party leaders, President Mattarella said he would wait before deciding whether to call fresh elections, and summoned Carlo Cottarelli a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund, who could form an interim administration, for talks. Mr Cottarelli, 64, worked at the IMF from 2008 to 2013, gaining the nickname “Mr Scissors” for making cuts to public spending in Italy.