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Italian socialist president faces impeachment for Treason

 
 
 
 
 
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Sergio Mattarella vetoed the appointment of Paolo Savona (pictured) who has described the euro as a ‘German cage’ and said that Italy needs a plan to leave the single currency ‘if necessary’.

The Italian President who in 2007 was one of the founders of the socialist Democratic Party is now facing impeachment calls after he refused to appoint a eurosceptic finance minister.

Sergio Mattarella vetoed the appointment of Paolo Savona, who has described the euro as a ‘German cage’ and said that Italy needs a plan to leave the single currency ‘if necessary’.

But the decision led to the collapse of a bid by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League parties to form a coalition – and prompted their prime minister-elect Giuseppe Conte to step aside.

The leaders of Five Star and the League, Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, have been enraged by the move which has plunged Italy into fresh political turmoil.

Di Maio has called for the impeachment of Mattarella for treason – something that would require an absolute majority in both chambers of parliament in a joint session. Salvini has called for mass protests against the ‘establishment’ President.

Mattarella, who cited concerns from investors at home and abroad for his decision, may now appoint a stop-gap prime minster with fresh elections looking likely.

‘I have given up my mandate to form the government of change,’ said lawyer and political novice Conte, 53, plunging the country into a political crisis nearly three months after March’s inconclusive general election.

Mattarella said he had accepted every proposed minister except Savona.

Di Maio and Salvini denounced the veto, decrying what they called meddling by Germany, ratings agencies and financial lobbies.

Mattarella has summoned Carlo Cottarelli, an economist formerly with the International Monetary Fund, for talks Monday, with a temporary technocrat government on the table as Italy faces the strong possibility of new elections in the autumn.

Cottarelli, 64, was director of the IMF’s fiscal affairs department from 2008 to 2013 and became known as ‘Mr. Scissors’ for making cuts to public spending in Italy.

He will struggle to gain the approval of parliament with Five Star and the League commanding a majority in both houses.

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