Populist leaders in Italy say agreement to form government has been reached

The chosen prime ministerial candidate has accepted the role

Populist leaders in Italy say agreement to form government has been reached

Giuseppe Conte addresses the media at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome. Picture by: Fabio Frustaci/AP/Press Association Images

Updated 21.30

Italian populist leaders' chosen candidate for prime minister has accepted the role as the country is close to formalising a government.

Earlier, the leader of the 5-Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, and League leader Matteo Salvini said in a statement that they have achieved "the conditions for a political government."

Following a meeting with the Italian President, law professor Giuseppe Conte has accepted the role of Prime Minister.

President Sergio Mattarella gave Mr Conte a second mandate to form a populist government in the eurozone's third largest economy.

If the cabinet is approved by the president, the new government could be sworn in tomorrow afternoon - almost three months after elections in March.

5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio is surrounded by journalists as arrives at the Lower House, in Rome. Picture by: Massimo Percossi/AP/Press Association Images

Global markets have been rattled by mounting fears of a new snap election being held if no government was formed soon.

Mr Salvini and Mr Di Maio's initial attempt to form western Europe's first populist government stalled earlier this week when Mr Mattarella refused their choice of an anti-euro economy minister.

Conte, who is close to 5-Star, remained the coalition's pick for prime minister, the leaders said.

It comes despite Mr Conte previously quitting as prime minister designate because the president wouldn't accept the Eurosceptic candidate Paolo Savona for economy minister.

Carlo Cottarelli was suggested as an interim PM, before he failed to present a cabinet and won no support. He has now stepped aside.