ROME - Italy’s prime ministerial candidate Giuseppe Conte gave up on Sunday his mandate to form a government after talks with the president over his cabinet collapsed.

“Giuseoppe Conte has given up the mandate to form a government, given to him on May 23,” an official from the presidential palace said.

“I have given up my mandate to form the government of change. I thank the president of the republic for having given me the mandate on May 23. I thank the two political forces Luigi Di Miao for the Five Star and Matteo Salvini from the League for having put me up as a candidate,” said Conte to reporters after leaving a failed summit with president Sergio Mattarella on Sunday.

Conte, a little-known law professor with no political experience, took his list of ministers to President Sergio Mattarella in a bid to end a two-month political stalemate. But the president rejected Conte’s candidate to the Economy Ministry, the 81-year-old eurosceptic economist Paolo Savona.

Before Conte or Mattarella had finished their meeting, far-right League leader Matteo Salvini said that the only option now was to hold another election, probably later this year.

“In a democracy, if we are still in democracy, there’s only one thing to do, let the Italians have their say,” Salvini said in a fiery speech to supporters in central Italy.

Salvini and 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio had met Mattarella informally on Sunday to try to find a solution. Mattarella is expected to speak soon about his decision.

“The problem is Savona,” the coalition source said, explaining that the economist had not sufficiently softened some of his more eurosceptic positions.

On Sunday, Savona tried to allay concerns about his views in his first public statement on the matter. Savona has been a vocal critic of the euro and the European Union, but he has distinguished credentials, including as industry minister in the early 1990s.

“In a democracy, if we are still in democracy, there’s only one thing to do, let the Italians have their say,” Salvini said in a fiery speech to supporters in central Italy.

Salvini and 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio had met Mattarella informally on Sunday to try to find a solution. Mattarella is expected to speak soon about his decision.

“The problem is Savona,” the coalition source said, explaining that the economist had not sufficiently softened some of his more eurosceptic positions.

On Sunday, Savona tried to allay concerns about his views in his first public statement on the matter. Savona has been a vocal critic of the euro and the European Union, but he has distinguished credentials, including as industry minister in the early 1990s.