Italian Premier designate Giuseppe Conte arrives at his home in the centre of Rome, Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Fabio Frustaci/ANSA via AP)

The Latest: Italy: President nixed Cabinet pick over markets

May 27, 2018 - 2:48 pm

ROME (AP) — The Latest on the drawn-out process of forming Italy's new government (all times local):

7:40 p.m.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said he refused to approve populist leaders' choice of an economy minister who has expressed anti-euro views because the appointment would have "alarmed markets and investors, Italians and foreigners."

Mattarella spoke to reporters Sunday night after Premier-Designate Giuseppe Conte announced that he didn't succeed in forming what would have been Western Europe's first populist government.

Mattarella said: "Every day, the (bond) spread goes up, it raises our debt" costs.

The president didn't immediately announce his next move, which could include appointing a non-political premier to guide the country back to the polls after the inconclusive national election held March 4.

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7:20 p.m.

Italian Premier-Designate Giuseppe Conte says he tried his hardest to form the country's next government and had full cooperation from would-be coalition partners, the populist 5-Star Movement and League parties.

In a terse comment to reporters after he relinquished a presidential mandate to put together an acceptable Cabinet, Conte said he "gave the maximum effort, attention, to carry out this task with the full collaboration" of the 5-Star Movement and League.

Conte, a University of Florence law professor without political experience, received the mandate last week from staunchly pro-Europe President Sergio Mattarella.

Assembling a Cabinet acceptable to both Mattarella and the populist partners foundered on League leader Matteo Salvini's insistence on a euroskeptic economy minister.

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7:05 p.m.

Italy's premier-designate has told the president he has been unable to form what would have been western Europe's first populist government.

A presidential palace official told reporters Sunday night that Giuseppe Conte "has given back the mandate" to try to form a government that President Sergio Mattarella gave him four days earlier.

Separately, right-wing leader Matteo Salvini indicated in remarks to supporters Sunday that he had refused to submit to a presidential veto of his choice of a euroskeptic economy minister.

Mattarella is staunchly pro-Europe.

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5:45 p.m.

Italy's premier-designate has been summoned to the presidential palace to report Sunday on whether he has assembled a Cabinet for a euroskeptic government that meets the president's approval.

University of Florence law Professor Giuseppe Conte received a mandate last week from staunchly pro-Europe President Sergio Mattarella to try to form viable government out of rival populist forces.

The political novice's task was complicated by right-wing leader Matteo Salvini's insistence that the Cabinet include his pick for economy minister, a former government minister who has raised doubts about Italy keeping the euro as its official currency.

Salvini, along with 5-Star Movement leader and fellow euroskeptic Luigi Di Maio, agreed this month to join their rival forces in a coalition to break a political impasse caused by an inconclusive March 4 parliamentary election.

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4:20 p.m.

The leader of Italy's right-wing League party says he won't give ground in a standoff that is blocking the country's next government from taking office.

League leader Matteo Salvini tweeted Sunday that he would keep fighting "to the end" for the anti-euro candidate he wants to be economy minister.

Paolo Savona has likened Italy to being in a "cage" of austerity restrictions favored by fellow eurozone member Germany. President Sergio Mattarella, who as Italy's head of state must approve the next Cabinet, is staunchly pro-euro.

Salvini and 5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio, a fellow euroskeptic, have joined forces in hopes of giving Italy its first populist government.

After inconclusive March 4 elections, they proposed a political novice, law professor Giuseppe Conte, as their choice to lead the next government.

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