Won’t run in European elections, says Conte

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

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.