Italy’s president set the country on a path back to fresh elections on Monday, appointing a former International Monetary Fund official as interim prime minister with the task of planning for snap polls and passing the next budget.
The decision to appoint Carlo Cottarelli to form a stopgap administration sets the stage for elections that are likely to be fought over Italy’s role in the European Union and the euro zone, a prospect that is rattling global financial markets.
The euro zone’s third-largest economy has been seeking a new government since inconclusive March elections, with anti-establishment forces abandoning their efforts to form a ruling coalition at the weekend after a standoff with the president.
President Sergio Mattarella vetoed the parties’ choice of a eurosceptic as economy minister, prompting the 5-Star Movement and far-right League party to accuse him of betraying voters and to drop their plan to take power.
Cottarelli told reporters after his appointment that elections would be held in the autumn or early next year. He also tried to reassure investors on the Italian economy.