Italy weighs new chances for gov't based on vote

Former senior International Monetary Fund official Carlo Cottarelli arrives to talk to the media after a meeting with Italy's President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace in Rome

The League and Five Star proposed a government led by Conte last week.

The former technocrat has previously earned the nickname "Mr. Scissors" due to his penchant for slashing government spending.

The breakthrough came after the League and 5-Star agreed to drop economist Paolo Savona as their choice for economy minister.

Four days of political and constitutional crisis are over.

In the end, the populist parties made a decision to back down and accept the president's veto of their original choice of a eurosceptic economy minister.

In Spain, center-right Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faces a no-confidence vote on Friday, which will follow a debate about whether socialist leader Pedro Sánchez should replace him.

One source of conflict may be the coalition's plans to deport hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who have been ferried into the country in recent years - a move opposed by the EU's pro-mass migration leadership. He has promised a tough new policy on migration, which may provoke arguments within Europe.

Di Maio, who pledged to give needy Italians a basic income, takes over as economic development minister, while Salvini heads the interior ministry, the key position to enforce his pledge to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants.

"All the conditions have been fulfilled for a political, Five Star and League government", party chief Di Maio and far-right League leader Salvini said in a joint statement after several hours of talks in central Rome.

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"We will work intensely to realise our political objectives which we have already put together in our government contract", Mr Conte was quoted. The government was sworn in on Friday.

The political upheaval that has created western Europe's first populist government this week has been dubbed Italy's Third Republic. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted: "Bravo to the coalition".

How did we get here?

The populist Five Star Movement emerged the single largest party in Italy's March elections, gaining almost a third of the vote.

Mainstream media has said today that there is a new populist government, but populism is more a style than concrete politics, so surely the two parties will take issue with each other, when ideological differences arise.

Mr Conte, a political novice who has never held public office and has been accused of embellishing his 12-page CV, emerged as a compromise candidate between the two largest parties.

Mattarella then tapped a former International Monetary Fund official to head a possible interim government of technocrats to see Italy through to an early election.

He appeared to have suspended his own efforts to form an interim administration and could instead be giving Five Star and the League a second chance, says BBC Rome correspondent James Reynolds.

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, also congratulated the new Prime Minister on Twitter, stating that Conte's premiership marks the start of a "new and important" legislature.

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