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Explaining his opposition, the president said that it was his constitutional...

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said he refused to approve populist leaders' choice of an economy minister who has expressed anti-euro views because the appointment would have "alarmed markets and investors, Italians and foreigners".

Conte, 53, is working on a list of ministers to propose to Sergio Mattarella, 76, the head of state whose task it is to name the government team.

Mattarella ultimately refused to back the so-called "euroskeptic" for the economy portfolio.

However, market participants warned that the rally could prove short-lived as the League, under Matteo Salvini, might improve its performance from the last, inconclusive elections in March that led to months of political wrangling.

Conte said he tried his hardest to form a government and had full cooperation from would-be coalition partners, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and League parties.

The president may put together a caretaker government to steer the country to fresh elections in the fall, according to media political observers.

Both Salvini and Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio reacted furiously to the president's intervention on Sunday evening, with Di Maio blaming credit-rating companies for torpedoing the cabinet.

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"After tonight, it's truly hard to believe in the institutions and the laws of the state", Di Maio said.

"I agreed to all the ministers except the finance minister", Mattarella told reporters at the presidential palace in Rome.

Cottarelli, 64, was director of the IMF's fiscal affairs department from 2008 to 2013 and became known as "Mr. Scissors" for making cuts to public spending in Italy.

Cottarelli would be a calming choice for the financial markets, but any technocrat administration would likely only be a short-term solution because the majority of parliamentarians have said they would not support such a government.

The constitution also gives the president the power to dissolve parliament, a deterrent force which has played a part in numerous prior political crises in Italy - a country which has had 64 governments since 1946. After an emergency meeting with his party leaders, he called on Italian television for Mr. Mattarella's impeachment for blocking the will of the people.

Italy's outgoing economy minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, said in a TV interview Sunday that the real problem isn't Savona, whom he described as having a good background for the post.

On Saturday, the far-right League party and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement stuck by Savona, challenging Mattarella to accept him or risk another election later this year.

European stocks were slightly higher Monday morning, as investors monitored signs of thawing tensions between the US and North Korea and reacted to renewed political turmoil in Italy.


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