Giuseppe Conte stays in university job race despite criticism

ROME — Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte has not withdrawn his application for a prestigious university position, despite promising last week to “reconsider” whether to go ahead following criticism that it would breach rules aimed avoiding conflicts of interest and corruption.

Conte had been due to sit an exam as part of the selection process for the private law professorship on Monday. But the judging panel at Sapienza University told the two other candidates Professors Mauro Orlandi and Giovanni Perlingieri that the prime minister would not sit the test that day and offered them the option to postpone. They decided not to go ahead with the oral exam after a brief consultation among themselves.

POLITICO reported last week that the prime minister was in the running for the job. Conte had first applied for the professorship in February, before he became prime minister at the head of a coalition between the populist 5Stars and the far-right League.

Documents seen by this publication confirmed that the prime minister was shortlisted for the post, but legal scholars said his application was in breach of laws designed to prevent corruption and conflicts of interest in recruitment to public universities.

The candidates for the position and the judging committee declined to comment.

Read this next: Tory party faces ‘catastrophic’ Brexit split, says former minister