The Latest: Italy: Premier-designate says he made big effort

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The Latest on the drawn-out process of forming Italy's new government (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

Italian Premier-Designate Giuseppe Conte says he tried his hardest to form the country's next government and had full cooperation from would-be coalition partners, the populist 5-Star Movement and League parties.

In a terse comment to reporters after he relinquished a presidential mandate to put together an acceptable Cabinet, Conte said he "gave the maximum effort, attention, to carry out this task with the full collaboration" of the 5-Star Movement and League.

Conte, a University of Florence law professor without political experience, received the mandate last week from staunchly pro-Europe President Sergio Mattarella.

Assembling a Cabinet acceptable to both Mattarella and the populist partners foundered on League leader Matteo Salvini's insistence on a euroskeptic economy minister.


7:05 p.m.

Italy's premier-designate has told the president he has been unable to form what would have been western Europe's first populist government.

A presidential palace official told reporters Sunday night that Giuseppe Conte "has given back the mandate" to try to form a government that President Sergio Mattarella gave him four days earlier.

Separately, right-wing leader Matteo Salvini indicated in remarks to supporters Sunday that he had refused to submit to a presidential veto of his choice of a euroskeptic economy minister.

Mattarella is staunchly pro-Europe.


5:45 p.m.

Italy's premier-designate has been summoned to the presidential palace to report Sunday on whether he has assembled a Cabinet for a euroskeptic government that meets the president's approval.

University of Florence law Professor Giuseppe Conte received a mandate last week from staunchly pro-Europe President Sergio Mattarella to try to form viable government out of rival populist forces.

The political novice's task was complicated by right-wing leader Matteo Salvini's insistence that the Cabinet include his pick for economy minister, a former government minister who has raised doubts about Italy keeping the euro as its official currency.

Salvini, along with 5-Star Movement leader and fellow euroskeptic Luigi Di Maio, agreed this month to join their rival forces in a coalition to break a political impasse caused by an inconclusive March 4 parliamentary election.


4:20 p.m.

The leader of Italy's right-wing League party says he won't give ground in a standoff that is blocking the country's next government from taking office.

League leader Matteo Salvini tweeted Sunday that he would keep fighting "to the end" for the anti-euro candidate he wants to be economy minister.

Paolo Savona has likened Italy to being in a "cage" of austerity restrictions favored by fellow eurozone member Germany. President Sergio Mattarella, who as Italy's head of state must approve the next Cabinet, is staunchly pro-euro.

Salvini and 5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio, a fellow euroskeptic, have joined forces in hopes of giving Italy its first populist government.

After inconclusive March 4 elections, they proposed a political novice, law professor Giuseppe Conte, as their choice to lead the next government.