Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said on Wednesday his grassroots 5Star Movement wants outgoing premier Giuseppe Conte to lead a new government, rejecting suggestions he wants to replace Conte as Italy's next prime minister.
Di Maio said 5Star "will be putting one name forward - that of Giuseppe Conte" - in political consultations that began on Wednesday. Conte resigned a day earlier after he lost his majority in the Senate when ex-premier Matteo Renzi's tiny Italia Viva withdrew from the coalition government due to differences over government spending plans.
"My name is being bandied about with the clear intention of pitting me against Conte," Di Maio stated.
"But it is very well known that I am working shoulder to shoulder with Conte with utmost loyalty to find a way out this senseless crisis," he said.
The 5-Star Movement, the centre-left Democratic party and the left-wing LeU group, are in favour of a third Conte government following the round of formal consultations now underway between Italy's president Sergio Mattarella and the country's political forces.
Mattarella was due to hold talks with Senate speaker Elisabetta Casellati and lower house of parliament speaker Roberto Fico on Wednesday and with Italy's political parties on Thursday and Friday.