Cottarelli named interim Italian prime minister

May 28 (UPI) — Italian President Sergio Mattarella tapped former International Monetary Fund official Carlo Cottarelli to be interim prime minister Monday.

The move came after Giuseppe Conte, the populist prime minister-in-waiting, resigned over Mattarella’s refusal to accept Conte’s selection for finance minister.

The president asked technocrat Cottarelli to form an interim government, which the new premier agreed to.

“I will present a program that, in the case in which the executive wins a confidence vote, includes the approval of the budget law and then the dissolution of Parliament and elections in 2019,” Cottarelli said.

The new prime minister is known as “Mr. Scissors” for his cuts to public spending in Italy.

With Conte’s resignation Sunday and Mattarella’s refusal to approve the nomination of Paolo Savona, the 5-Star Movement/League coalition collapsed.

League leader Matteo Salvini accused Mattarella of putting other states’ interests above Italy. The leader of the 5-Star Movement called for the impeachment of the president, who, as head of state, is supposed to remain politically neutral.

Mattarella said the nomination of Savona as finance minister created uncertainty in the economy.

“I asked for that ministry an authoritative political figure from the coalition parties who was not seen as the supporter of a line that could provoke Italy’s exit from the euro,” Mattarella said.

“The uncertainty over our position within the euro has alarmed Italian and foreign investors who have invested in securities and companies.”

Italy held elections in March, but left a divided government.

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