Italy was mired in fresh political chaos after the populist parties' bid to take power collapsed with President Sergio Mattarella set to appoint Monday a pro-austerity economist to lead a technocrat government ahead of new elections.
Mattarella vetoed the nomination of fierce Eurosceptic Paolo Savona as economy minister, enraging the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League and prompting their prime minister-elect to step aside.
"I have given up my mandate to form the government of change," said lawyer and political novice Giuseppe Conte, 53, plunging the country into a political crisis nearly three months after March's inconclusive general election.
Mattarella said he accepted every proposed minister except Savona, who has called the euro a "German cage" and said that Italy needs a plan to leave the single currency "if necessary."
The leaders of Five Star and the League, Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, denounced the veto, decrying what they called meddling by Germany, ratings agencies and financial lobbies.
Mattarella summoned Carlo Cottarelli, an economist formerly with the International Monetary Fund, for talks Monday, with a temporary technocrat government on the table as Italy faces the strong possibility of new elections in the autumn.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team