Conte expected to unveil new cabinet lineup by Wednesday

ROME – After a shaky start to negotiations, Italy’s premier-designate Giuseppe Conte said there was now a “good working atmosphere” between prior sworn enemies, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), political sources said on Monday.

 With the latest negotiations between the two parties set to conclude Monday, Conte told Italian media he will unveil his new cabinet lineup by midweek at the latest. 

 But Tuesday remains an all-important day for M5S with the party consulting its grass-roots members via the online Rousseau platform on the question of whether the M5S should form a government with the PD, chaired by Giuseppe Conte. 

 The vote will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 In recent days, various members of the Movement have reiterated that online consultation should be considered binding. 

 The question of the vice-premiership still remains unresolved, with Di Maio reportedly intent on keeping the deputy premier’s role. 

 But the Pd said on Sunday, the new government should do away with deputy premiers altogether.

 Conte, keen to dispel DP fears that he is on the side of the M5S, said he was neutral.

 “I am not a member of the Five Star Movement, I do not participate in meetings of the leadership group, I have never met the parliamentary groups,” he said. “To call me M5S seems inappropriate to me.”

 Meanwhile, in a brief video, Beppe Grillo addressed M5S political leader Luigi Di Maio, speaking of "a head turned towards Luigi, pissed off and still amazed by [his] inability to grasp the intrinsic beauty of being able to change things." Adding: “It is good to change things.”

 Then he refers to the premier’s tiredness and writes: "but why is Conte tired? He is the only one who has a home to go to, who has an inner thread. An exceptional person because he is able to remain normal: they are not many.”

 cc