Rome, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Thursday denied he would be a candidate for the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement in the European Parliament polls in May to help revive its flagging fortunes.
“I am Prime Minister, not a candidate for the European elections. No one has suggested this to me and I have not had to turn anyone down,” Conte told Milan-based Corriere della Sera.
Conte, a non-partisan university law professor is said to be close to the 5 Star Movement led by Luigi Di Maio, which governs Italy in coalition with Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigrant League party.
Conte is often accused of being a “puppet” for his two deputies Di Maio and Salvini, who were unable to agree on who should be premier when the government was formed last year.
However Conte enjoys a level of popularity among Italians which his predecessors did not, according to an Ipsos poll published last month.