Italy’s Establishment Vetoes the Populists

(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s two populist leaders forged a coalition from very different policy platforms. They found a prime minister that both could accept. Then President Sergio Mattarella vetoed their finance minister and their bid for power foundered, unleashing chaos and rage in equal measure in Rome.

Mattarella may now ask a former IMF official to form a technocratic government. Five Star and the League meanwhile are talking about impeaching the head of state.

“We worked for weeks, day and night, to ensure the birth of a government that defends the interests of Italian citizens,” League Leader Matteo Salvini wrote on Facebook. “But someone (under pressure from whom?) said no to us.”

Mattarella signaled his veto was motivated by concerns about the would-be finance minister Paolo Savona's opposition to the euro, which raised questions about the begrudging acceptance of the single currency in the coalition deal.

It's a massive gamble though. The populists can vote down a technocrat and would head into a repeat election arguing they’re defending the will of the people against the establishment.

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