Giuseppe Conte fails to form a government leaving Italy facing another election

Giuseppe Conte fails to form a government leaving Italy facing another election

Cottarelli, 64, was director of the IMF's fiscal affairs department from 2008 to 2013 and became known as "Mr Scissors" for making cuts to public spending in Italy. He found 32 billion euros ($37 billion) in cuts, but left embittered when the government soon changed hands at the obstacles he found within the bureaucracy resisting cuts.

"I'll present myself to parliament with a program which - if it wins the backing of parliament - would include the approval of the 2019 budget".

Rome: Italy sank deeper into political turmoil as populist leaders pulled the plug on their attempt to form a government after the president rejected the choice of a euro-skeptic, Germany-bashing candidate as finance minister.

The 81-year-old billionaire former prime minister released a statement on Sunday in which he praised Mattarella's efforts to "safeguard this country's families and businesses".

In his first remarks Monday, Cottarelli said he would guide a politically "neutral" government that would lead Italy to new elections.

But the euro's bounce was limited as an early election in Italy looked inevitable as the far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement abandoned plans to forge an alliance after their choice of economy minister was vetoed.

But the move is a temporary measure and the PM-in-waiting says he will hold new elections by early next year. Mattarella's office announced the president had given a mandate to Cottarelli to try to form a government after about an hour of consultations Monday.

League leader Matteo Salvini and 5-Star chief Luigi Di Maio responded angrily, saying the President was acting beyond the powers the constitution assigns to him.

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But the prospect of a neutral government ignited a backlash among the two populist parties, who are view it as yet another move by special interests to control Italy against the will of the people.

"If there's not the OK of Berlin, Paris or Brussels, a government can not be formed in Italy". He said that "we expect Italy to do justice to this proud tradition in the future".

"If you want to discuss it, it should have been done openly and with a serious debate", which he noted had not been part of the electoral campaign.

Italy's president invited economist Carlo Cottarelli to the presidential palace on Monday amid speculation he would ask the former International Monetary Fund official to form a technical government following the collapse of what would have been Western Europe's first populist government.

Mattarella has not spoken publicly about Savona, but through his aides he has made it clear he does not want an anti-euro economy minister and that he would not accept the "diktat" of the parties.

Former left-wing prime minister Massimo D'Alema already warned on Saturday that "if we have to go back to the ballot box because of a veto of Savona, Salvini will pick up 80 percent" of the vote.

The common currency was up 0.45 per cent at 128.065 yen after sinking on Friday to an 11-month low of 127.165.

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