Sergio Mattarella vetoed a ministerial candidate, ending the latest efforts to form a coalition government
Italy's President Sergio Mattarella is facing impeachment calls after his decision to veto a proposed minister.
Talks to form a government have been ongoing since elections in March, with a populist coalition led by the Eurosceptic 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League recently working to form a government.
However, those efforts now appear to have failed after President Mattarella refused to endorse Eurosceptic Paolo Savona as finance minister amid concerns from investors.
The Italian President said: "I asked for the [economy] ministry an authoritative person from the parliamentary majority who is consistent with the government programme... who isn't seen as a supporter of a line that could probably, or even inevitably, provoke Italy's exit from the euro."
President Mattarella has now called Carlo Cottarelli - a former economist with the International Monetary Fund - for talks today, as he works to appoint an interim government ahead of expected fresh elections.
Both parties involved in efforts to form a government denounced the move.
5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said: "We were a few steps away from forming a government, and we were stopped because in our cabinet there was a minister who criticised the EU.
"I want this institutional crisis to be taken to parliament and the president tried."
Prime ministerial candidate Giuseppe Conte - who had been chosen as a potential leader of a coalition government by the two populist parties, and who has never held public office - said: "I have rejected the mandate to form a government that was offered to me by President Mattarella.
"I thank the president for giving me the mandate on 23 May and I thank the people from the main political forces, Luigi Di Maio from the 5-Star Movement and Matteo Salvini from the League to have put my name forward.
"I can assure you I have used maximum efforts and attention for this task and I can assure you that I have worked in a climate of maximum collaboration with those political forces."
The current caretaker prime minister Paolo Gentiloni - who supports the president - said: "Now we must save our great country".
An impeachment vote would require MPs to vote on whether Mr Matterella had committed "high treason" or "attacked the constitution".
Additional reporting by IRN