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Law professor Giuseppe Conte populist pick for premier

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Law professor Giuseppe Conte populist pick for premier

Giuseppe Conte

Italy's nascent populist coalition has picked a little-known Italian university law professor and political novice, Giuseppe Conte, as its prime minister, Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio said on Monday.

"We have indicated the name of Giuseppe Conte to Italy's president (Sergio Mattarella), " Di Maio wrote in a post on the Five-Star Movement's website shortly after his meeting with the head of state.

"He (Conte) is a person who an implement our contract of government and I am especially proud of this choice," said Di Maio.

During the election campaign ahead of Italy's inconclusive 4 March national polls, Di Maio had touted 54-year-old Conte as a public administration minister in a future Five-Star government due to Conte's enthusiasm for streamlining Italy's creaking bureaucracy.

The choice of Conte, which teaches at civil law at the University of Florence, was also confirmed by Five-Star's coalition partner, the League party's chief Matteo Salvini, who met Mattarella on Monday shortly after the president held talks with Di Maio.

He is seen as a compromise candidate, a technocrat who can balance the demands of the rival parties, according to observers.

An opinion poll on Sunday showed 80 percent of Five-Star and League voters approve their common agenda which has roiled markets by its calls for billions of euros of tax cuts, extra welfare spending and a reversal of pension reforms.

The planned coalition government blueprint also has the support of some 60 percent of Italians, according to the Demos & Pi poll.

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