Key Italy talks amid fears of snap poll

Rome,   Italy’s Prime Minister-designate Carlo Cottarelli will on Wednesday meet President Sergio Mattarella, amid reports that snap elections may be called to break the political deadlock.

Cottarelli, an ex-IMF economist, has failed to secure support from major political parties and may not even bother to be sworn in, media reports said.

The President might choose to skip the appointment of a stop-gap government and call elections in July, the BBC said.

On Sunday, Italy’s two populist parties failed to form a coalition cabinet.

The prospect of fresh elections and the possibility of eurosceptic parties strengthening their position has hit financial markets and raised concerns about the eurozone’s stability.

Italy, the European Union’s fourth-biggest economy, has been without a government since elections in March because no political group can form a majority.

The two big winners in that election — Five Star and the League — attempted to join forces but abandoned efforts after the President vetoed their choice of the Finance Minister.

Mattarella said he could not appoint the eurosceptic Paolo Savona to the post, citing concern from investors at home and abroad.

The rare move by the President sparked fury from both parties, who say they would reject Cottarelli’s nomination in Parliament, the BBC reported.

Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio then urged Parliament to impeach the President, but later it came down to peaceful protests.

League’s chief Matteo Salvini also criticised Mattarella’s decision, calling for mass protests and accusing Brussels and Germany of meddling.

Marches and rallies were expected to be organised in Italian cities, including an event in Rome on June 2 (their Republic Day).