Italy's president rejects Savona as economy minister, may mean new election

By Steve Scherer and Stephen Jewkes MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's president rejected Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte's pick for the economy ministry, a political source said on Sunday, a veto that may lead to another election this year. Conte, a little-known law professor with no political experience, took his list of ministers to President Sergio Mattarella, but the president rejected Conte's candidate to the Economy Ministry, the 81-year-old eurosceptic economist Paolo Savona. Before Conte or Mattarella had finished their meeting, far-right League leader Matteo Salvini said that the only option now was to hold another election, probably later this year, without directly confirming the president's veto.

Reuters May 28, 2018 00:05:33 IST
Italy's president rejects Savona as economy minister, may mean new election

Italys president rejects Savona as economy minister may mean new election

By Steve Scherer and Stephen Jewkes

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's president rejected Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte's pick for the economy ministry, a political source said on Sunday, a veto that may lead to another election this year.

Conte, a little-known law professor with no political experience, took his list of ministers to President Sergio Mattarella, but the president rejected Conte's candidate to the Economy Ministry, the 81-year-old eurosceptic economist Paolo Savona.

Before Conte or Mattarella had finished their meeting, far-right League leader Matteo Salvini said that the only option now was to hold another election, probably later this year, without directly confirming the president's veto.

"In a democracy, if we are still in democracy, there's only one thing to do, let the Italians have their say," Salvini said in a fiery speech to supporters in central Italy.

Salvini and 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio had met Mattarella informally on Sunday to try to find a solution.

"The problem is Savona," the coalition source said, explaining that the economist had not sufficiently softened some of his more eurosceptic positions.

On Sunday, Savona tried to allay concerns about his views in his first public statement on the matter. Savona has been a vocal critic of the euro and the European Union, but he has distinguished credentials, including as industry minister in the early 1990s.

"I want a different Europe, stronger, but more equal," Savona said in a statement.

Last week Savona's known criticism of the euro and German economic policy further spooked financial markets that were already concerned about the future government's willingness to reign in the massive national debt, worth 1.3 times its annual output.

Outgoing Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said on Sunday that the problem was not Savona, but the coalition's economic plan, which is "clearly unsustainable".

Padoan also said the parties should have vocally ruled out a proposal put forward in Savona's most recent book, which said Italy should draw up a "plan B" for the country to leave the eurozone with as little damage as possible if it should prove necessary.

In his statement, Savona said his position on debt was the same as that forged by the potential coalition allies in their programme - which says it will be reduced not through austerity or tax cuts, but through targeted investments and policies that boost economic growth.

Savona has had high-level experience at the Bank of Italy, in government as industry minister in 1993-94, and with employers' lobby Confindustria. But his critical stance on the euro has been the focus of concern.

In Sunday's statement Savona did not refer to his opinions on the euro, but more than 70 slides outlining a "plan B" for Italy's exit from the euro, co-authored by Savona in 2015 with a dozen others, circulated on social media.

If the president were to continue to veto Savona, the risk is that the deal holding together the two rival parties, which won the most parliamentary seats in the March vote, would fall apart, making another election this year likely.

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Susan Fenton and Richard Balmforth)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Goods train runs over two persons crossing railway line in Mathura
India

Goods train runs over two persons crossing railway line in Mathura

Both were trying to free their motorcycle from the rail track when the accident occured, SP (City) Martand Prakash Singh said

Cryptocurrency prices tumble and exchange trading falters as snags crop up
News & Analysis

Cryptocurrency prices tumble and exchange trading falters as snags crop up

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The price of cryptocurrencies plunged and crypto trading was delayed on Tuesday, a day in which El Salvador ran into snags as the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. Shares of blockchain-related firms also fell as crypto stocks were hit by trading platform outages. But the major focus was on El Salvador, where the government had to temporarily unplug a digital wallet to cope with demand.

Ford poaches Apple's car project chief Doug Field
News & Analysis

Ford poaches Apple's car project chief Doug Field

By Joseph White and Sanjana Shivdas (Reuters) -The head of Apple Inc's car project, Doug Field, is going to work for Ford Motor Co to lead the automaker's advanced technology and embedded systems efforts, a hiring coup for Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley.