Italy financial markets plunge on political turmoil

GETTYThe election will become a referendum of Italy's membership of the euro

European Council President Donald Tusk has congratulated Giuseppe Conte on his appointment as Italy's new prime minister and called for "unity and solidarity more than ever".

Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte presented his list of ministers to President Sergio Mattarella for the second time in a week and the new government will be sworn in on Friday.

The announcement by the president's office that Mr Conte was taking the role indicated Mr Mattarella had accepted all of the ministers proposed by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the right-wing League.

It was a reference to European Union officials, who have made clear in recent days their concerns - in occasionally undiplomatic terms - about the euroskeptic direction of Europe's third-largest economy.

Mr Salvini will be the interior minister and Mr Di Maio will take a powerful, newly-created joint ministry made up of the labour and industry portfolios.

The chaos - the latest chapter in a drawn-out political saga after an inconclusive March election - sent Italian stocks tumbling by as much as two percent at one stage, and bond yields surging, with Italy's debt risk premium hitting its highest level since November 2013.

M5S leader Luigi Di Maio and Mr Salvini said in a brief joint statement: "All the conditions have been met for a M5S-League government".

"I'm in deep love with Italy, bella Italia", European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a conference on Thursday.

Five Star and the League won 33 per cent and 17 per cent of votes respectively in the March election.

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After a long, and at times seemingly endless winter, western Pennsylvanians are ready to travel for Memorial Day. According to statistics from AAA , gas prices in Woodbury County averaged about $2.75 per gallon as of Sunday.

Yet migrant arrivals to Italy actually plunged in the past year under the center-left Democratic Party, which signed controversial deals with Libya to beef up coastal patrols and prevent migrants from setting out in smugglers' boats across the Mediterranean Sea. Italy has never before had a July election: the timing, during the traditional summer holiday season, could affect turnout significantly, and the short notice might cause problems for Italian voters living overseas.

George Soros, the pro-EU billionaire, yesterday said the European Union had an "existential crisis" and needed to "reinvent itself" to make it more attractive for countries to stay in.

Speaking at the Quirinal Thursday evening, Conte pledged his new government would "work intensely to realize the political goals of our agreement" and "work with determination to improve the lives of all Italians".

After rejecting Conte's first attempt, Mattarella tapped a former International Monetary Fund official to head a possible interim government of technocrats to see Italy through to an early election. The scholar already served as advisor to Italy's Prime Minister for EU affairs and privatization of state-owned companies between 1993 and 1995, and as Minister of European Affairs between 2011-2013 and 2013-2014, according to his online resume.

Mattarella then asked pro-austerity economist Carlo Cottarelli to form a caretaker government.

Both Mr Di Maio and Mr Salvini vowed not to support Mr Cottarelli and called for elections straight away.

It also came on the eve of the nation's Republic Day holiday, the day in 1946 when Italy abolished the monarchy and gave birth to the First Republic.

Lorne Cook and Raf Casert contributed from Brussels, and Angela Charlton from Paris.

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