Giuseppe Conte (pictured), a law professor and political novice, was on Monday proposed as Italy’s next prime minister by Luigi Di Maio, leader of Five Star Movement (M5S), Italian media reports say.
Di Maio made the announcement after meeting President Sergio Mattarella.
If Conte becomes prime minister, Italians, bored with successive corrupt governments, will be keenly watching how a man who has never been elected to parliament is going to lead a new populist government through the rough and tumble of Italy’s cut-throat politics.
The Eurosceptic coalition may face problems with other EU members who may not be impressed by its high spending plans as the country faces massive debts.
Born in 1964 in the tiny village of Volturara Appula in the southern region of Puglia, Conte has had an impressive career in law and academia.
He studied and took up research positions at Cambridge University, the Sorbonne and New York University.
He teaches private law courses in Florence and at Luiss University in the capital.
He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Space Agency, a legal consultant to the Rome Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the supervisory board of a number of insurance companies in bankruptcy proceedings.
Conte wants to focus on cleaning up Italy’s public administration.
His WhatsApp account carries a photo of former US President John F Kennedy and one of his more famous quotations: “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”