Conte confirms new PD-M5S Italian Government

Conte at the Quirinal Palace Wednesday

 ROME – After the positive results of the Five Star Movement’s Rousseau vote, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte formally told President Sergio Mattarella Wednesday that he has reached agreement with the Democratic Party, Five Star Movement and far-left LEU party on forming a new centre-left government that will be sworn in Thursday by the head of state at the Quirinal Palace.

 Conte told Mattarella that he had "removed his reservations" on concocting a new coalition, meaning that he can go ahead with putting the madate into practise. Wrangling over key jobs continued up to the lasty minute, however, with Conte being quoted as saying he wanted an undersecretary to the Prime Minister’s office, a right-hand man. But, given that Democratic Party (PD) leader Nicola Zingaretti considers the premier a Five Star Movement (M5S) sympathiser, he fears the PD will be left outside the doors of Palazzo Chigi.

 According to Il Messaggero, Conte’s frontrunner for the undersecretary position was Roberto Chieppa, current Secretary-General of Palazzo Chigi and son of the former President of the Constitutional Court.

 The Democrats appear ready to adapt but they would like – in addition to the Ministry of Defence for Lorenzo Guerini – for Conte to entrust them with security services. Especially given that Alfonso Bonafede (M5S) looks to be continuing as Justice Minister and former Prefect of Milan, Luciana Lamorgese, looks set to take over Matteo Salvini’s role as Interior Minister.

 The choice of undersecretary would also bother Vincenzo Spadafora, whom M5S leader Luigi Di Maio would have preferred in that role, political commentators said.

 Not so reassuringly for the M5S leader, he has been touted as Foreign Minister – a portfolio intended to appease the blow of losing the ministries of Labour, Economic Development and above all, the deputy prime minister-ship.

 Still, after the long negotiations and having limited the damage, Di Maio is credited with having avoided early elections and confirming Conte at Palazzo Chigi, according to political sources.

 However, the substantial retreat of the M5S is weighing on an executive where the Democratic Party, with its 18 percent, will occupy many key positions.

 Even if the ministry positions have yet to undergo the scrutiny of Italian President Sergio Mattarella, it is probable that the Democrats will have an area technician at the Ministry of Economy, likely Dario Scannapieco, Il Messaggero reports.

 Furthermore, Paolo Gentiloni, a PD founding member, who has been appointed Italy’s new European commissioner, will likely gain the Economic Affairs portfolio in Brussels, an important combination that is completed with Davide Sassoli as President of the European Parliament and Robert Gualtieri as President of the Commission for Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament. 

 If the Democrats also win the Ministry of Economic Development, where two women are in the running – Paola De Micheli (PD) and Laura Castelli (M5S) – the picture of economic appointments would be complete, with the addition of Teresa Bellanova (PD) to the Ministry of Labour.