Law professor set to become Italy's next prime minister

University of Florence professor in line to lead coalition of the Five Star Movement and the League

May 21, 2018
Rome skyline

A little-known law professor with almost no political experience has been touted as Italy’s next prime minister.

Giuseppe Conte, who works at the University of Florence and private university LUISS Guido Carli in Rome, has been named in the Italian media as the man most likely to lead a coalition of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the right-wing League party.

Professor Conte’s name is to be considered by Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s president, having been put forward by Luigi Di Maio, head of Five Star, and Matteo Salvini, from the League.

Professor Conte, who is from Puglia in southern Italy, would "place a technocratic gloss on the maverick alliance in Rome," reported the Financial Times.

According to his online profile page, the 54-year-old graduated in law from La Sapienza University in Rome before "perfecting" his studies at several institutions including Yale, Duquesne and New York universities, the University of Cambridge, and the Sorbonne.

However, the Corriere della Sera newspaper stated that while Conte has "a very long curriculum (vitae)" he doesn't "have a clue about politics,” according to CNBC.

The newspaper added that Professor Conte "is certainly a technician" and has experience in business and administrative, financial and civil law, while La Stampa newspaper added that he has been the director of "numerous legal journals".

Mr Mattarella, who has the final word on the choice of prime minister, could choose to rebuff Professor Conte’s candidacy if he believes his profile is too low to represent Italy on the international stage.

However, Mr Salvini issued a thinly-veiled warning to Mr Mattarella not to stand in the way.

“We hope no one will place vetoes on this person’s name or surname. We won’t accept it,” he said.

Other names for prime minister that were floated in the Italian press in recent days include the economists Andrea Roventini and Paolo Savona.

jack.grove@timeshighereducation.com

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