The Latest: Conte wants to recover Italy’s ‘central’ EU role

FILE – In this Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019 file photo, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, right, is flanked by Deputy-Premier Matteo Salvini as he addresses the Senate in Rome. Italy’s populist 5-Star Movement has asked, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, the nation’s president to give caretaker Premier Giuseppe Conte the mandate to form a new coalition government, a week after the one he led for 14 months collapsed. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

ROME (AP) — The Latest on efforts to form a new Italian government (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

Italy’s new premier-designate Giuseppe Conte says he will work hard to give the country a solid government, as Rome faces key decisions in a delicate political phase.

Italian president Sergio Mattarella earlier Thursday gave Conte a mandate to try to form a new government, which will be backed by the uneasy coalition between the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and its former arch-enemy, the center-left Democratic Party, or PD.

Conte said: “We need to make up for the time we’ve lost to allow Italy to recover its central role in Europe.”

He stressed that his new government won’t be “against someone,” a clear reference to the right-wing League of Matteo Salvini, who pulled the plug on Conte’s government earlier in August. Salvini accuses the 5-Stars and the PD of engineering a plan to avert new elections and block his ascent to power.

Conte stressed the need to act quickly to name Italy’s candidate for the new European Commission and draft a complex budget law that needs to avert a massive VAT hike by the end of the year.

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10:30 a.m.

Italy’s president has given the recently resigned premier, Giuseppe Conte, a fresh mandate to see if he can cobble together a new government backed by the populist 5-Star Movement and center-left Democrats.

The two parties have banded together in an unlikely alliance to block hard-line League leader Matteo Salvini’s power grab.

A spokesman for Italian president Sergio Mattarella said Thursday that Conte had accepted the conditional mandate. Conte will now start talks with parties to try to form a government, and will report back progress to the president.

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9 a.m.

Italy’s president will meet with just-resigned premier Giuseppe Conte after the populist 5-Star Movement and center-left Democrats tapped him to lead a new government that aims to block right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini’s power grab.

During the meeting Thursday, President Sergio Mattarella is expected to give Conte a mandate to explore forming a new government majority backed by lawmakers in the 5-Star Movement and Democratic Party — until this crisis staunch political foes who have long traded insults.

The two parties banded together to thwart Salvini’s bungled attempt to grab power when he unexpectedly withdrew support for the foundering League-5-Star government to seek early elections.

The new alliance appears to forestall elections. But even if Conte cobbles together a government, political analysts warn it is unlikely to last.

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