Italian political crisis continues after President of the Republic Mattarella refuses eurosceptic Economy Minister

Author (Person)
Series Details May 2018
Publication Date 29/05/2018
Content Type

Further information:

On 27 May 2018, Italian head of State Sergio Mattarella refused the economic Minister proposed by Giuseppe Conte and its government which was the result of weeks of coalition talks between the Five Star Movement and the Northern League.

This opposition from the head of State led Conte to resign and opened again the governmental crisis.

Reactions to the President's move in Italy are controversial. The public opinion is split between those who agree with Mattarella hailed as a hero and those who considered him as a traitor of the Constitution and the democratic system, some of them also threatened violence.

On 28 May 2018, Mattarella summoned Carlo Cottarelli to give him the mandate to form a government.

Background information:

On 23 May 2018, President Mattarella gave the mandate to professor Giuseppe Conte to create a new government.

Conte, Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, being respectively the leader of the Five Star Movement and the leader of the Northern League, worked together in order to find the names of the people who would have became the Ministers of the so-called 'government of the change'. Between those names, a major problem was related to Paolo Savona, the perspective economy Minister, because of his previous work connected with eurosceptic views.

On 27 May 2018, Conte met President Mattarella in order to have his official approval, but the President vetoed Savona as Minister, leading Conte to resign. President Mattarella decided not to approve Savona because of his calls for a possible Italian exit from the euro expressed in his Plan B to leave the eurozone through secret negotiations.

The leaders of the Five Star Movement and the Northern League, Di Maio and Salvini, strongly opposed this decision from the President, saying they would not have given their confidence to the government created by Cottarelli and claiming they were ready to go back to the election.

Di Maio said that the move from the President was incomprehensible and that Mattarella went too far in exercising the powers the Constitution gives him; in doing so, the President would have put aside the results of the general election held in March, preventing them to form a government, and he would have preferred the interest of Brussels over Italian ones. He raised the possibility of an attempt to impeach President Mattarella, a process that has been initiated three times in the past against Italian heads of state but has never succeeded.
He also asked Italian people to show support to the Five Star Movement by drapping the Italian flag on their windows and to join parades and rallies to support the party.

On 28 May 2018, President Mattarella appointed Cottarelli as interim Prime Minister. Cottarelli, 'Mr. Scissors', is an economist, former International Monetary Fund official and Italian government appointee, who told reporters that he would form a caretaker government only with the goal of passing a budget and guiding Italy to new elections.

Related Links
LSE European Institute, 30.05.18: Italy’s crisis: Wouldn’t it be simpler if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?
EurActiv, 30.05.18: Italy may return to polls as early as July, amid market rout
The Guardian, 28.05.18: Giuseppe Conte: 'I have given up my mandate to form a government of change' [YouTube video]
BBC News, 28.05.18: Italy crisis: Call to impeach president after candidate vetoed
Euronews, 27.05.18: Italy's political stalemate continues after president refuses to accept a eurosceptic finance minister
The New York Times, 28.05.18: Italian President’s Loyalty to the Euro Creates Chaos
CNN, 28.05.18: Italy's populists are blocked as 'political referee' waves the red card
Reuters, 28.05.18: Italy's fresh election risks being referendum on euro
The, 28.05.18: Italy in fresh political chaos amid calls to impeach the president
Deutsche Welle, 28.05.18: Italian president asks economist Carlo Cottarelli to form interim government
Reuters, 28.05.18: President readies Italy for snap polls to be fought on EU, euro
Deutsche Welle, 28.05.18: Italian populist coalition's failure to govern throws government into doubt
BBC News, 28.05.18: What is Italy's political crisis all about?
The Guardian, 28.05.18: New elections loom in Italy amid calls for Mattarella to be impeached
Reuters, 27.05.18: Italy's efforts to form government fail as president defends euro
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EurActiv, 28.05.18: Technocrat PM to take over in Italy as President steps in to protect the euro
The Guardian, 28.05.18: Italian president names interim prime minister until fresh elections
The Guardian, 28.05.18: Sergio Mattarella: the Italian president at the heart of a political crisis
Politico, 28.05.18: Italian president asks ‘Mr. Scissors’ technocrat to form government
Politico [Opinion], 28.05.18: Italian voters head for euro showdown
The, 30.05.18: Italy political crisis: Impeachment 'off the table', main parties call for summer election
The Guardian [Opinion], 28.05.18: With his choice of prime minister, Italy’s president has gifted the far right
The Guardian, 29.05.18: 'They played us': Italy's political turmoil angers backers of coalition
EuObserver, 28.05.18: How radical is Italy's Savona really?
Reuters, 27.05.18: Italy's eurosceptic candidate for economy minister seeks to reassure president
Verfassungsblog: Blog, 18.06.18: The Italian President and the Security of the European Project
Spiegel, 28.05.18: Italian President Mattarella: The Man Who Wouldn't Yield
EurActiv, 29.05.18: Oettinger: Markets will show the way to shun populists in Italy

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