May 22, 2018 / 10:56 AM / a year ago

Italy's 5-Star defends track record of prime minister candidate

ROME, May 22 (Reuters) - Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement rejected on Tuesday suggestions that the party’s pick for prime minister might have inflated the academic credentials in his curriculum.

The 5-Star and far-right League asked President Sergio Mattarella on Monday to appoint a little-known law professor, Giuseppe Conte, to head their planned coalition government.

Mattarella has not yet said whether he will accept their recommendation. In the meantime questions have been raised about a curriculum put forward by Conte, where he says he studied at numerous foreign colleges, including New York University.

The New York Times newspaper quoted an NYU spokeswoman as saying: “A person by that name does not show up in any of our records as either a student or faculty member.” She added that he might have attended one or two-day programmes, for which there were no records.

5-Star issued a statement saying Conte had never claimed to have followed any specific courses or to have received a masters degree from the university.

“Conte, like any researcher, went abroad to study, to deepen his knowledge, to perfect his English legal language skills,” the party said.

“So the international press and the Italian press are going wild over presumed qualifications that Conte has never claimed to have,” it added. (Reporting by Crispian Balmer; editing by Steve Scherer)

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