Ex-Italian PM given mandate to form new government

Italian ex-premier Giuseppe Conte
Giuseppe Conte

Italy’s president has given permission to ex-premier Giuseppe Conte to try to form a new government in a bid to block nationalist League leader Matteo Salvini’s grab for power.

During a meeting on Thursday, President Sergio Mattarella gave Mr Conte, who had just resigned as PM, a mandate to explore forming a new government majority backed by politicians in the 5-Star Movement and Democratic Party – two sides which had, until the current crisis, been staunch political foes who have long traded insults.

The two parties banded together to thwart Mr Salvini’s bungled attempt to grab power when he unexpectedly withdrew support for the foundering League-5-Star government to seek early elections.

The new alliance appears aimed at avoiding elections, but even if Mr Conte cobbles together a government, political analysts warn it is unlikely to last.

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