March 4, 2019 / 12:32 PM / 2 months ago

Italy's Deputy PM Di Maio says he trusts the Bank of Italy

FILE PHOTO: Italian Deputy PM Luigi Di Maio speaks at the 5-Star Movement party's open-air rally at Circo Massimo in Rome, Italy, October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Monday he had full confidence in the central bank after the Bank of Italy came under attack from the populist government.

“I absolutely trust the Bank of Italy, and there is no reason why I should not,” he told an event in Turin.

Italian government leaders Di Maio and Matteo Salvini - who lead respectively the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the far right party League - have called for a change of the Bank of Italy leadership, contesting its handling of the banking crisis.

The mandate of Luigi Signorini, who sits on the central bank’s five-member executive board, expired last month. The Bank of Italy proposed his name for another mandate, but the government has yet to give its green light.

Two other central bank board members come up for renewal in May.

The League has drafted a law proposal which would eventually allow the government to sell the country’s gold reserves through a change to the constitution — a long and complicated legislative process, a draft of the amendment seen by Reuters showed last month..

The move has sparked talk that the government could sell part of the country’s gold reserves to fill budget shortfalls, an idea that officials from the League party have since denied.

Writing by Francesca Piscioneri, Editing by William Maclean

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