Giuseppe Conte, a law professor who has never before held political office was sworn in as Italy’s new Prime Minister on Friday afternoon, ending almost three months of political uncertainty and bringing to power a new populist government.
Giuseppe Conte took an oath of loyalty to the Italian constitution in a gilded room in the Quirinal, Italy’s presidential palace in Rome, ending three months of political turmoil.
But while Conte will nominally hold the most powerful office in Italy, the driving forces in his administration will be the leaders of the two political parties that gained the most votes in an inconclusive election in March: the right-wing League party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
But Conte’s lack of political experience may not matter as he won’t even be the most powerful person in the government. His two deputies are the leaders of the two largest parties that emerged from the inconclusive March 4 ballot, and nothing will get done without their say-so.
One of them, the new interior minister, promised during the election campaign to expel half a million illegal immigrants from Italy, and has shared anti-migrant memes on social media. The other is the young university dropout leader of an anti-establishment party that has surged in the polls in recent years.
On Thursday evening,the out going Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella had approved the government put forward by the right-wing League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which emerged as the two largest parties after an inconclusive election in March.
Conte and his new government will also face a confidence vote in parliament next week. Speaking at the Quirinal on 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.”
Speaking on the eve of his swearing-in, 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.”
The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, also congratulated the new Prime Minister on Twitter, stating that Conte’s premiership marks the start of a “new and important” legislature.