MILAN (AP) - The specter of a financial crisis came back to haunt Italy on Tuesday, as its markets plunged on fears that it is heading toward another election that could shape up to be a referendum on whether to stay in the common currency.
Carlo Cottarelli, a former IMF official, was tapped as premier of a non-political government of technocrats after an attempt by two populist parties to form a government foundered. The president, who in Italy appoints the premier and ministers, had opposed the populists’ choice of a euroskeptic economics minister.
Cottarelli was expected to submit his list of ministers to President Sergio Mattarella on Tuesday, but left the president’s office without comment after about an hour, unexpectedly delaying the formation of a government. A spokesman for Mattarella said the two would meet again Wednesday morning, and that Cottarelli needed more time to work on the Cabinet.
The Cottarelli government, which would see Italy through a period of uncertainty, seems doomed even before it’s created. The populist parties, which got the most votes in the inconclusive March election, have promised to vote against it in a confidence vote. That would force Italy to new elections.
The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the anti-euro League have been emboldened by the president’s dismissal of their government.