Italy's would-be coalition parties turned up the pressure on President Sergio Mattarella on Saturday to endorse their euroskeptic pick as economy minister, saying the only other option may be a new election.
Mattarella has held up formation of a government, which would end more than 80 days of political deadlock, over concern about the far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement's desire to make the 81-year-old economist Paolo Savona economy minister.
Savona has been a vocal critic of the euro and the European Union, but he has distinguished credentials, including in a former role as an industry minister.
Formally, Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte presents his cabinet to the president, who must endorse it. Conte, a little-known law professor with no political experiences, met the president on Friday without resolving the deadlock.
"I hope no one has already decided 'no'," League leader Matteo Salvini shouted to supporters in northern Italy.
"Either the government gets off the ground and starts working in the coming hours, or we might as well go back to elections," Salvini said.
Later 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said he expected there to be a decision on whether the president would back the government within 24 hours.
5-Star also defended Savona's nomination.