Italy's faith in the Eurozone is set to be tested in fresh elections in the autumn after President Sergio Mattarella installed an interim prime minister to lead a new government following a bitter falling out with the country's populist parties.
The political crisis engulfing Rome threatens to bring about another bitter battle over the future of the EU, two years after the UK voted for Brexit. The uncertainty prompted a selloff on Italian markets on Monday.
Mattarella, with his power as president to nominate the head of government and ministers, asked Carlo Cottarelli, a former International Monetary Fund official, to become interim PM after refusing to accept the nomination of Paolo Savona, a Eurosceptic, for the role of finance minister.
Mattarella said appointing Savona, 81, who has called Italy's entry into the euro a "historic mistake", would have risked the confidence of foreign investors and destabilizing the country.
Savona had been put forward for the role by the Five Star Movement [M5S] and the League, which had been attempting to form a government. The rejection on Sunday night prompted the resignation of Giuseppe Conte, the two parties' choice to serve as prime minister.
The parties' leaders, Luigi Di Maio of the M5S and Matteo Salvini of the League, expressed outrage at Mattarella's intervention and called for a mass mobilization against the president on 2 June.
Di Maio and others called for Mattarella's impeachment, a move almost unheard of in Italy, but he later backed off from the threat.
"I call citizens to mobilize, make yourselves heard, it's important that you do it right now. We will organize peaceful and symbolic demonstrations," Di Maio said. He also called on Italians to drape the Italian flag outside their windows in protest against Mattarella.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team