Updated | Populist government sworn in, ending Italy's political deadlock

President Sergio Mattarella agreed to a revised slate of ministers, including Matteo Salvini, Luigi Di Maio, Giuseppe Conte, and Paolo Savona who was previously rejected 

Giuseppe Conte (L) presented a new list of ministers to President Sergio Mattarella (Photo: BBC)
Giuseppe Conte (L) presented a new list of ministers to President Sergio Mattarella (Photo: BBC)

Giuseppe Conte has been sworn in as prime minister the head of the new populist government, putting an end to the government's gridlock.

President Sergio Mattarella agreed to a revised slate of 18 ministers, just days after a bitter row over the incoming leaders’ choices.

Head of the 5-Star Movement Luigi di Maio, and League chief Matteo Salvini will take key ministerial posts.

A confidence vote will take place later on this week.

A joint statement by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League had announced that political newcomer Giuseppe Conte, who had been seen as a controversial choice, would serve as prime minister. The relatively unknown law professor met Mattarella late on Thursday night to put forward a list of ministers, which the president has accepted.

President of the European Council Donald Tusk has congratulated the new prime minister in a tweet.

Mattarella rejected Conte's original choice for economy minister but a different candidate was agreed on Thursday. After meeting President Mattarella, Conte confirmed reports that the new candidate for the key economy minister post would be economics professor Giovanni Tria.

“All the conditions have been fulfilled for a political, Five Star and League government,” said Luigi Di Maio, the Five Star chief, and Matteo Salvini, the League leader, in a joint statement after a day of talks in Rome.

The new cabinet will include:

  • Interior and Deputy Prime Minister: Matteo Salvini (League)
  • Industry and Deputy Prime Minister: Luigi Di Maio (M5S)
  • Foreign: Enzo Moavero Milanesi (independent, ex-European Affairs minister)
  • Defence: Elisabetta Trenta (M5S)
  • European affairs: Paolo Savona (independent), the controversial original choice for finance

"We will work intensely to realise our political objectives which we have already put together in our government contract," Conte was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

After being sworn in, the ministers will face confidence votes in both chambers of parliament, where the M5S and the League have a majority.

The new government is expected to take a far more antagonistic stance against Brussels than the previous government, headed by the centre-left Democratic party.

The alliance between the M5S and the League will have only a relatively narrow majority in the Italian senate, easing concerns among investors and officials in Brussels over the new government’s decision-making.

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