Giuseppe Conte was sworn in as prime minister of Italy’s new populist government today after a last-ditch coalition deal ended months of political deadlock and narrowly avoided snap elections in the eurozone’s third largest economy.
Conte, an academic and political novice, will head a government of ministers from the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League Party. The first populist coalition in a founding EU member has raised concerns in some European quarters.
The 53-year-old was sworn in alongside his cabinet, which will see M5S leader Luigi Di Maio and League chief Matteo Salvini in key ministerial posts.
After weeks of political drama that had at one stage seemed certain to lead to new elections, President Sergio Mattarella named political novice Conte as prime minister for the second time in less than a fortnight and approved his revised cabinet.
Conte had abandoned his original mandate as PM on Sunday after Mattarella vetoed eurosceptic Paolo Savona as economy minister, prompting the collapse the Five Star-League joint government deal collapsed.
But in a surprise twist, the populists resurrected the coalition talks and Conte eventually accepted a new mandate for the premiership. He presented Mattarella with a revised list of ministers – with Savona moved to EU Affairs – that the head of state quickly accepted.
Italian media reported that the lineup will face a vote of confidence on Monday or Tuesday in both houses of parliament, which it is almost certain to win thanks to the populists’ combined majority.