Italy's 5-Star considers election alliance with League

European Union - Italy's Conte fights to form team as ally threatens new vote

Rome: Italy sank deeper into political turmoil as populist leaders pulled the plug on their attempt to form a government after the president rejected the choice of a euro-skeptic, Germany-bashing candidate as finance minister.

Conte abandoned efforts to form a government after Mattarella refused to accept his cabinet lineup.

Mattarella ultimately refused to back the so-called "euroskeptic" for the economy portfolio.

Mattarella's move is being widely interpreted as a rejection not only of the government but of the national will as expressed in democratic elections, and massive demonstrations are expected Monday.

M5S Senate group leader Danilo Toninelli told reporters Sunday that he thought Conte was "very close to finalising (the lineup) this evening".

The populist Five Star Movement and the right-wing Northern League had agreed to form a government based on their common anti-establishment stance, in spite of major political differences. The parties that chose Conte as premier had spent the previous weeks drawing up a platform for a new government, and although both parties have at times signaled their opposition to the euro, exiting was not mentioned in the final version of their proposed platform.

Cinque Stelle leader Luigi di Maio described the situation as "an institutional clash without precedent" and said he will seek Mattarella's impeachment.

"Blocking a ministerial choice is beyond (the president's) role", Alessandro Di Battista, a top 5-Star politician, said.

"Now I am telling Mattarella that we want a date for new elections".

Cottarelli, 64, worked at the International Monetary Fund from 2008 to 2013 and became known as "Mr Scissors" for making cuts to public spending in Italy. "That is the guarantor of the Italian Constitution".

"We hope that Italy will have a stable, pro-European government soon", Roth said on arrival to a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels.

Italy's outgoing economy minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, said in a TV interview Sunday that the real problem isn't Savona, whom he described as having a good background for the post.

The Five Star Movement and the League were the parties that gathered the most momentum from inconclusive March 4 elections, together capturing more than half the vote.

Meanwhile, utility stocks led the gains, up around 0.7 percent amid political uncertainty in Italy.

It is on this basis that Di Maio has raised the possibility of impeaching Mattarella for treason - something that would require an absolute majority in both chambers of parliament in a joint session.

"We are seeing a decent relief rally in European markets, starting with the euro overnight, with the risk of an anti-euro finance minister in Italy being averted", said Commerzbank strategist Michael Leister, though he added it should be put in the context of Friday's heavy sell off in Italian assets.

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