Economist Carlo Cottarelli gets in a taxi to go to the Quirinale Presidential Palace, in Rome, Monday, May 28, 2018. Italy's president Sergio Mattarella invited Cottarelli to the presidential palace on Monday amid speculation he would ask the former International Monetary Fund official to form a technical government following the collapse of what would have been Western Europe's first populist government. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP)

The Latest: Italian economist tapped as premier-designate

May 28, 2018 - 5:35 am

ROME (AP) — The Latest on Italy's political crisis (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

Italy's president has formally asked economist Carlo Cottarelli to try to form a government after quashing the hopes of the euroskeptic 5-Star Movement and the League to form Western Europe's first populist government.

President Sergio Mattarella turned to the former International Monetary Fund official to run a technocratic government until an early election can be held. Mattarella's office announced the president had given a mandate to Cottarelli to try to form a government after about an hour of consultations Monday.

Mattarella enraged the 5-Stars and League by vetoing their choice for economy minister on Sunday night, throwing Italy into a new round of political uncertainty more than two months after an election created a hung parliament.

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10:30 a.m.

The European Union's foreign policy chief says she has full confidence in the Italian president, who vetoed the proposed economy minister of what would have been Western Europe's first populist government.

Federica Mogherini says she's convinced that President Sergio Mattarella was serving the Italian people and the EU by forcing the end of the proposed 5-Star Movement-League government.

In a statement, Mogherini said that "I have full trust, as I believe all Italians have in the Italian institutions, starting with the Italian president. That is the guarantor of the Italian Constitution."

She continued: "I am confident that the Italian institutions and the president of the republic will prove to be as always serving the interests of the Italian citizens that by the way coincides also with the strength of the European Union."

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10:20 a.m.

Germany's deputy foreign minister says he hopes there will be a "stable, pro-European" government in Italy soon, but has acknowledged that his country is in no position to offer advice after its own long-drawn-out effort to form a new administration.

Michael Roth told reporters in Brussels that Italy, a founding member of the European Union, has always been a reliable and integration-friendly partner. He said that "we expect Italy to do justice to this proud tradition in the future."

Roth said he doesn't want to discuss the constitutional situation, but "we hope that there will be a stable, pro-European government in Italy without delay."

He added: "We in Germany should hold back somewhat with advice on forming a government. We needed six months to form a new government."

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9:20 a.m.

All eyes are on Italian President Sergio Mattarella after he vetoed the proposed euroskeptic economy minister of what would have been Western Europe's first populist government.

News reports said Mattarella would convene the former International Monetary Fund official, Carlo Cottarelli, to the presidential palace and ask him to form a technical government that can lead Italy until early elections.

Markets have largely welcomed Mattarella's decision to put an end to the proposed government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and right-wing nationalist League, which had insisted on Paolo Savona as economy minister. Savona has questioned whether Italy should ditch the euro as its currency.

The spread of points between Italy's bonds and benchmark German bonds, which had grown alarmingly last week, fell early Monday.

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