PM-designate gives up attempt to form populist government

Italian President Sergio Mattarella addresses the media after meeting Italy's premier-designate Giuseppe Conte in Rome on Sunday

Italian lawyer Giuseppe Conte addresses journalists after a meeting with Italy's President Sergio Mattarella on May 23, 2018 at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome.

Mattarella had been under pressure from Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, leader of the other populist party, the League, to greenlight 81-year-old economist, Paolo Savona, who's known for his outspoken criticism of Italy's decision to enter the eurozone single currency two decades ago.

News of Mattarella's veto sent a shockwave through Italy.

After inconclusive March 4 elections, they proposed a political novice, law professor Giuseppe Conte, as their choice to lead the next government.

10 2008 shows the 81 hold economist Paolo Savona looking on during a meeting in Rome. Paolo Savona chosen by the Italian populists to be the new finance minister is an eurosceptic economist very critical of Germany who made

Mattarella summoned Carlo Cottarelli, a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund, to his office on Monday.

Italy's Prime Minister-in-waiting Giuseppe Conte has quit attempts to form a government following President Sergio Mattarella's blocking of his choice for economy minister.

"I asked for a figure, who would mean not risking an exit from the euro", Mattarella explained, citing Savona's Euro-sceptic remarks. "If you want to talk about it, we need to do it openly and with a serious, in-depth analysis".

Luigi Di Maio, Five Star's leader, has called for Mattarella's impeachment.

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"It's an institutional clash without precedent", Di Maio said on a live-streamed Facebook video. "But this doesn't end here".

In case Mattarella makes Cottarelli PM-designate, the latter "will not have any chance to create the government", the MP said.

That platform called for spending that could have potentially raised the country's indebtedness and clashed with European Union fiscal rules.

Savona has had high-level experience at the Bank of Italy, in government as industry minister in 1993-94, and with employers' lobby Confindustria. "We are not slaves to the Germans or the French, of the spread or of finance", euroskeptic League chief Matteo Salvini tweeted as soon as news broke that Conte had given up. "Everything was set, and I, too, was ready to deal with immigration and security, but someone today said NO". Anger? Lots. Fear? Zero. He added: "we're not a free country" but have "limited sovereignty". "What's the point of going to vote if it's the ratings agencies that decide?"

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The country, Europe's fourth biggest economy, has been without a government since the General Election in March which saw populist left and right movements League and 5-Star win the most votes. Polls in Italy since indicate that the parties' support has held steady or grown.

On Monday, Salvini threatened to break his alliance with pre-election right-wing coalition partner Silvio Berlusconi should the media mogul's Forza Italia party vote for the government. "The Italians are acting now as if they were dragged into the euro against their will so that Germany could force their exports on them".

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