Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the far-right League have proposed Giuseppe Conte, a lawyer and academic, as the country’s new prime minister to lead their populist government.


Luigi Di Maio, Five Star leader, and Matteo Salvini, the League leader, told Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s president, in separate meetings at the Quirinal Palace on Monday that they had chosen Mr Conte as their compromise candidate for prime minister.


It will now be up to Mr Mattarella to decide whether to offer Mr Conte a mandate to form the government, but if he does, the new government could be in place within days.


Mr Di Maio confirmed that they had tapped Mr Conte, a 53-year old little-known professor, after meeting Mr Mattarella, and dismissed concerns that he would be a powerless technocrat.


“Giuseppe Conte will be a political prime minister of a political government, chosen by two political forces that include political figures within it. And especially with the support of two political forces that were voted,” Mr Di Maio said.


Later, Mr Salvini added: “We are ready – our team and our project for the country are clear…no one has anything to fear”.


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