Executive Intelligence Review


Italian President Snubs Voters, Names Ex-IMF Official as Prime Minister-Designate

May 28, 2018 (EIRNS)—After Italian President Sergio Mattarella last night rejected the ministerial slate of the M5S and Lega coalition, singling out senior economist Paolo Savona to attack as unacceptable to “world finance,” Mattarella then mandated an ex-IMF official, Carlo Cottarelli, as his designate for prime minister, to provide a proposed cabinet. Procedurally, this must go to the Parliament for approval within a few days, which will not occur. New elections loom, which could be in autumn.

Cottarelli, nicknamed “Lurch” for his similarity to the character from the Addams Family TV series, has been an IMF official. His training includes the London School of Economics. Cottarelli led a review of Italian public sector spending under the Letta (PD) government. His suggestions to cut 60,000 jobs from the public sector were too much even for Letta’s successor Matteo Renzi, who fired him. Cottarelli became known as “Mr. Scissors.” Recently he has been the source providing a figure of over €100 billion for the cost (and therefore new debt) of the M5S-Lega program.

Cottarelli’s cabinet will be voted down by Parliament and, therefore, will take care of preparing early elections, which could be held in September-October. Political parties are already positioning for the campaign. In this context, the Lega is credited with over 30% of the vote by some polls. It is not clear whether the Lega will choose the same allies as in the last elections. There might be surprises.

The M5S and Fratelli d’Italia (FdI) have asked for an impeachment procedure against Mattarella. Lega head Matteo Salvini warned against being impulsive. Indeed, an impeachment procedure would take up a long time in Parliament and this would stretch the life of the technocratic government.

A Cottarelli government can do some damage, including approving decisions for the next EU budget at the June EU summit.