Dollar falls, euro recovers as Italy tries to end turmoil

GETTYProfessor Paolo Savona was Lega's choice for the post of Minister of the Economy

Italian president Sergio Mattarella has summoned the pick for premier by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and right-wing League as Italy edges toward a populist government on the second try.

The parties came close to forming a government last weekend, before Mattarella "torpedoed" incoming prime minister Giuseppe Conte's choice for foreign minister, says The Daily Telegraph.

In another development, far-right Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni signalled she would support a populist government, reversing her previous position and giving the potential administration more breathing room to pass confidence votes in parliament.

Financial markets have calmed amid increasing signs that Italy may avoid imminent elections after the president gave two populist parties time to figure out whether they can agree on an alternative to an anti-euro economy minister.

Italian financial markets jumped on the announcement of the first populist government for an European Union founding member, formed by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and nationalist League.

"All the conditions have been fulfilled for a political, Five Star and League government", said Matteo Salvini (the League leader) and Luigi Di Maio (leader of M5S), in a joint statement.

After more than two months of failed negotiations, Mr Mattarella then turned to former International Monetary Fund official Mr Cottarelli to form a neutral government made up of technocrats to lead Italy until early elections.

"Let's find someone of the same calibre as Savona, who would still remain in the government in another ministry", Di Maio said on Facebook after meeting with Mattarella.

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But the Five Star Movement and the Lega Nord refused to abandon Mr Savona, failing to offer up a viable alternative for the role of finance chief.

Supporters of the Five Star Movement celebrate the new Italian government on June 2, 2018 in Rome. "We should now call this a crisis", said Kit Juckes, an analyst at Societe Generale.

After the fits, starts and financial turbulence of recent days, the realization of a 5-Star-League coalition government put its populist posture on full display in Salvini's first public remarks.

Prime Minister-designate Carlo Cottarelli and President Sergio Mattarella met this morning, as the country lumbers on without a government in place.

Conte, who taught classes as usual at the University of Florence on Thursday before being called to Rome, appeared before reporters at the Quirinale after meeting with Mattarella to announce a Cabinet list split nearly evenly between members of the League and M5S.

Giovanni Tria - a professor of Political Economy at Rome Tor Vergata University who is favorable to Italy's continued adherence to the euro-zone - was sworn in as Economy and Finance Minister. Conte is taking over from Paolo Gentiloni, who led a coalition cabinet for two years. Di Maio also backed down on threats to seek Mattarella's impeachment over the first failure.

"That means more work, less corruption".

Italy hosted the European Union's founding Treaty of Rome 60 years ago, but the once enthusiastically pro-EU Italians have progressively become disenchanted with Europe, blaming its fiscal rules for two decades of economic stagnation.

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