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Earlier reports indicated that the Five Star Movement and League had rebooted their efforts to form a coalition government and were trying to find "a point of compromise on another name" for the economy ministry.

Former senior International Monetary Fund (IMF) official Carlo Cottarelli speaks to the media after a meeting with Italy's President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, Italy, May 28, 2018.

President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday blocked the coalition's pick for economy minister, the eurosceptic Paolo Savona, causing their bid for power to fall through. "If you want to talk about it, we need to do it openly and with a serious, in-depth analysis".

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. The populist parties, which got the most votes in the inconclusive March election, have promised to vote against it in a confidence vote. The populists immediately directed their ire at Mattarella and the European elites supposedly undermining Italy's popular will.

The continuing political turmoil almost three months after an inconclusive election has raised concerns about the stability of the eurozone while talks between President Sergio Mattarella and his nominee for prime minister Carlo Cottarelli drag on.

The League leader is advocating for an election at the earliest possible date, which is no surprise since polls suggest his party would be the biggest victor if the Italians return to the polls.

"Italy's fate does not lie in the hands of the financial markets", he said.

"It was a big mistake to say no to a government which had a majority, a programme and a list of ministers", said Salvini. "In recent weeks they've burnt billions of savings of the Italians, with scatterbrained statements on the euro, on our debt, on the future. We are fed up with second-rate governments", he said.

But the public mood is not on the side of Renzi and other centrists.




Salvini cancelled his scheduled appointments in northern Italy to fly to Rome and was expected to have a private meeting with Di Maio, a political source said.

But Mr. Salvini, a gifted politician, stands to gain the most from new elections.

The contract called for heavy spending to introduce a basic income for needy Italians and a two-tier flat tax, as well as pension reforms, but was light on financing details. Shortly afterward, Salvini said he won't change the proposed cabinet lineup to suit the president.

Cottarelli, meanwhile, gives the populists the flawless foil, an embodiment of the elitist, anti-democratic, high-handed enemy they rail against. Economist Giovanni Tria is the candidate for the job of finance minister, according to party officials who declined to be named.

"Di Maio - Salvini: the Final Deal", was the headline in Corriere della Sera newspaper, echoing the national feeling of crisis put into a holding pattern.

Should the country move straight on to another election, both Five Star Movement and Lega will look to take advantage of any fury linked to perceived meddling and could significantly add to their numbers. Frustration with the mandates of Brussels and the domineering role played by Germany abounds in many corners of Europe.

"If there's not the OK of Berlin, Paris or Brussels, a government can not be formed in Italy".

"Italians have to take care of the poor regions of Italy".


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