The incoming Italian government has been given an unlikely vote of confidence – from the prime minister whose reforms they intend to abolish.
Mario Monti, the technocrat who was Italian PM as the country battled the effects of the euro crisis, said he hoped the anti-establishment government, formed from the Five Star and League parties, would succeed.
However, he warned that many of their plans remain unaffordable, and that some would be unfair towards future generations.
In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Mr Monti said: “Unlike many observers, I hope they will govern well – even though they want to destroy some of my reforms.
“For many of them, I am evil personified. But I hope they will succeed.”
The two parties have been locked in negotiations to attempt to form a government, following the March election, in which no clear party grouping won a majority.
Having attempted alternative configurations, the two populist parties have agreed to form a coalition.
On Tuesday night the parties remained in talks with the country’s president, Sergio Mattarella, about who would become their prime minister.
They had suggested obscure law professor Giuseppe Conte, but his name seemed in doubt after it emerged that he had allegedly fabricated parts of his CV.
The president is also understood to be concerned about appointing a prime minister who has no direct public mandate.
Mr Monti was Italy’s most famous technocratic prime minister, brought in by the-then president in 2011 following the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi.
He imposed a number of harsh reforms which have been frequently criticised by populist politicians in the following years.
The coalition has proposed a series of new economic plans, including a simplification of the tax system and what it calls a universal minimum income, as well as a deeply controversial proposal to create a parallel currency to pay its debts.
Mr Monti said those plans would prove troublesome to implement.
“They will find it difficult,” he said. “Of course they can make improvements; no reform is perfect.
“If it were to be a complete dismantling of [my] reforms they will find it very hard financially.
“And I think they would also discover that what may appear to them more equitable now is likely to be profoundly inequitable vis-a-vis not voters of today, but people one should care about: future generations.”
Although the parties have softened their anti-euro rhetoric, there remain widely held suspicions that some in the coalition parties would like to pull the country out of the single currency or EU.
Mr Monti said this would be a mistake.
“I would urge the populists not to consider the EU as their enemy,” he said.
“The more serious they are about putting the Italian establishment under pressure, the more they will discover that the EU is inherently an ally.”