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Political Novice Becomes Italy’s New Prime Minister to Lead a Divided Country

A 53-year-old law professor from Florence and Rome will become the southern European country’s new head of government.

Duane Paul Murphy

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After more than 11 weeks of political deadlock and negotiations between the recently elected far-right League, the anti-establishment populist Five Star Movement, and the mainstream conservative center-right coalition founded by controversial former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the incoming Italian government has chosen its new prime minister, Giuseppe Conte. Conte is a former law professor who recently taught in both the cities of Florence and Rome.

The decision to approve Conte as the new head of government was made mostly between the center-right coalition and its own leader, far-right League president Matteo Salvini, and the populist Five Star Movement and their own leader, Luigi de Maio. Conte was also approved by country’s current president, Sergio Mattarella, whose position is mostly ceremonial as the head of state.

Conte, who is 53 years old and a graduate of the Sapienza University of Rome back in 1988, has been criticized for his lack of political or governmental experience as well as a controversial resume. According to his recent CV or resume from 2013, he indicates that he perfected his own legal studies at New York University, but a university spokesperson said that there was no official record of his enrollment at that time. Another allegation has been brought up as a spokesperson from Cambridge University’s Girton College cannot confirm or deny Conte’s claim of carrying out scientific research in 2001 due national data protection laws.

The new governing coalition promises new policies taken from both the political left and right to address Italy’s economic stagnation, immigration issues, and differences between the European Union in Brussels. These proposals have included a basic minimum income of 780 euros or more than $900 for the country’s poor if they actively seek work, two flat taxation rates set at 15% and 20%, families receiving a 3,000 euro or more than $3,500 annual tax deduction based on household income. Other proposed ideas have also included removing increases in both sales and excise taxes that are worth 12. billion euros or more than $14 billion, negotiating with the Eurozone regarding single Euro currency reform, and increasing deportations of migrants as well as immigrants escaping economic or political instability in regions such as Africa, Asia, or the Middle East.

Duane Paul Murphy is a D.C. college student and student journalist born and raised in Southern California. Currently studying for his bachelor’s in politics and a minor in media studies, Duane Paul is interested in covering domestic as well as international political affairs that impact the lives of everyday people, whether they are young students, professionals, or faculty in higher education.

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