Giuseppe Conte Named Italy’s Prime Minister

Europe fears Italy’s populist breakthrough, as political novice Giuseppe Conte is being appointed Prime Minister

Political newcomer and lawyer Giuseppe Conte has been named Italy’s Prime Minister by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella. The Head of State gave his blessing yesterday afternoon, as Conte is the new anti-establishment Five Star Movement and Northern League goverment coalition’s pick.

After a two-hours meeting with President Mattarella, Conte declared that he is ready and that he will be “the lawyer of Italian people”, but ensured that he is “conscious of confirming Italy’s European and international position”. The next step is he drawing up a list of candidate ministers approved by Mattarella and then seeking the parliamentary majority.

Who is Conte

Born in Volturara Appula, in Apulia, Conte is a 54 years old jurist, owner of a law firm and law professor at the University of Florence. He is well known in the legal sector for his several collaborations with academic journals and foreign universities. However, on this last point, his academic credentials have been brought into question, as national and foreign media reported some black spots in his curriculum vitae.

Conte is politically very close to the Five Star Movement, as Luigi Di Maio gave him the task to write the chapter on justice of his electoral program and appointed him as personal lawyer.

The new government

The two parties in the coalition will negotiate until the last moment on all the other ministerial positions, but both Di Maio and Matteo Salvini should be part of the new government.

While the Five Star Movement leader is set to take the Ministry of Economic Development’s chair, Salvini could be addressing his pet subject, immigration, as new Interior Minister. Among the other indiscretions, the Ministry of Economy and Finance could go to Paolo Savona, already minister during the years 1993-1994 and staunchly skeptikal about the Maastricht Treaty and the eurozone. Giampiero Massaro, former head of the Italian secret service, is set to be the next Minister of Foreign Affairs.