FACING calls for his impeachment, Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella yesterday appointed former International Monetary Fund official Carlo Cottarelli as interim Prime Minister. Known as ‘Mr Scissors’ for his cuts in public spending, Cottarelli was tasked with forming a new appointed government after Mattarella refused to appoint Paolo Savona, a Euro-sceptic, as finance minister.
‘They’ve replaced a government with a majority with one that won’t obtain one,’ 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio told supporters at a rally near Rome. League Nord leader Matteo Salvini dismissed Cottarella as ‘Mister Nobody’ who ‘represents financial institutions’.
President Mattarella refused to accept the nomination for finance minister of Paolo Savona, because he had described the country’s entry into the EU’s single currency, the euro, as a ‘historic mistake’.
The leader of the Five Star Movement Luigi Di Maio has called for Mattarella to be impeached.
Coalition partner, League chief Matteo Salvini threatened mass protests unless a snap election was called. He told reporters: ‘If there is not the OK of Berlin, Paris or Brussels, a government cannot be formed in Italy. It’s madness, and I ask the Italian people to stay close to us because I want to bring democracy back to this country.’
Following his refusal to accept Savona, Mattarella said in a televised speech: ‘I asked for the (economy) ministry an authoritative person from the parliamentary majority who is consistent with the government programme… who isn’t seen as a supporter of a line that could probably, or even inevitably, provoke Italy’s exit from the euro.
‘The uncertainty over our position has alarmed investors and savers both in Italy and abroad.
‘Membership of the euro is a fundamental choice. If we want to discuss it, then we should do so in a serious fashion.’
Under the country’s law, the president is authorised to reject the appointment of a cabinet member.
The two populist parties, far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which were trying for form a coalition government, responded with fury to the president’s veto of their choice and accused him of abusing his constitutional powers. The two parties also slammed the president’s decision as ‘meddling’ by Germany, ratings agencies and financial lobbies.