Giuseppe Conte to lead coalition gov't as Italy's Prime Minister-designate

Cottarelli said the election would be held in August if he failed to secure confidence votes now

After weeks of political drama that had at one stage seemed certain to lead to new elections, President Sergio Mattarella named political novice Conte as prime minister for the second time in less than a fortnight and approved his revised cabinet.

Giuseppe Conte has been designated as Italy's next prime minister and is expected to be sworn in on Friday, after the populist Five Star Movement and anti-immigrant League party reached a deal to form a coalition government.

Italy's far-right League and the nominally anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) have agreed anew to form a government after their previous much-criticized efforts failed.

Milan's stock index opened up 2.5 percent, and Italy's borrowing rates eased further after having soared earlier in the week when it appeared that Italy was heading to new elections that could have turned into a referendum on the euro.

After meeting President Mattarella, Conte confirmed reports that the new candidate for the key economy minister post would be economics professor Giovanni Tria.

The yield on Italian two-year debt saw its biggest daily move since the height of the euro zone crisis in mid-2012, up 50 basis points on the day.

Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio, respectively the leaders of the League and M5S, would serve as ministers in Conte's government, according to plans announced on Thursday.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker "deeply regrets" that comments he made on Italy were seen as demeaning the nation and its southern region.

The two parties were rivals in the inconclusive elections held on March 4, but chose to join their forces after emerging as the two most voted parties.

Horse-mounted Carabinieri officers perform the changing of the guard, prior to the swearing-in ceremony for Italy's new government at Rome's Quirinale Presidential Palace, Friday, June 1, 2018.

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Both party leaders expressed fury at Europe's political and economic elite after their choice of a staunchly Eurosceptic finance minister was vetoed by Mr Mattarella in favour of Carlo Cottarelli (64), a former International Monetary Fund economist.

"In Italy, do the Italian voters decide or do the Germans and French decide?"

But other analysts said the pound had been helped by data showing that the economy was strengthening somewhat after a sluggish first quarter.

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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".

Savona has been named as European Union affairs minister.

He was speaking after Mr Mattarella requested that Mr Cottarelli try to form a technocratic caretaker government in preparation for elections next year.

Ex-Premier Matteo Renzi, whose Democratic Party suffered its worst-ever thrashing in the March election, wished good luck to the Conte government while vowing to be the "civil opposition".

But Cottarelli received no support from any of the major parties. The euro has been Italy's currency since 2002, when it replaced the Italian lira.

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

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