Italian President Sergio Mattarella
has appointed Paolo Gentiloni as the next prime minister following outgoing premier Matteo Renzi’s announcement of his resignation after a referendum defeat.
The 62-year-old Gentiloni, who was Renzi’s foreign minister, received a mandate from the president on Sunday to try to form the new government tasked with tackling the much-needed electoral reform and resolving a persisting crisis in the troubled banking sector.
Gentiloni told reporters that he would do his best to form the new government as soon as possible and that it would run “within the same framework” as that of Renzi.
“I am aware of the urgent need to give Italy a fully functioning government with full powers” to deal with a series of pressing international, economic and social issues, he added.
Opposition parties, however, are against Gentiloni’s designation. They had called for an immediate election, which was rejected by the president. “This government is not even worthy of a vote against it,” said Giulia Grillo, head of the Five Star group, Italy’s biggest opposition party.
The prime minister designate, a close ally of Renzi, is now expected to select his ministers and present the cabinet list to Mattarella on Sunday night or Monday morning. Furthermore, he will need to win the confidence vote in parliament session, expected to be held on Wednesday. The new center-left government will then guide the country to elections scheduled to be held by February 2018.
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announces his resignation during a press conference at the Palazzo Chigi following the results of the vote for a referendum on constitutional reforms, Rome, December 5, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
The 41-year-old Renzi announced his resignation on December 4 after he lost a constitutional reform referendum, which he heavily backed and was aimed at reducing the role of the senate and limiting the powers of regional governments. He had said a No vote at the referendum would also mean an end to his government.
The process of electing a new government in Italy has been experienced numerous times. The country is notorious for having had 63 governments in the past 70 years. However, it is the first time a government has collapsed since the Sicilian Mattarella took office last year.
Italy is the eurozone’s third-largest economy, but its stock market has been performing the worst in Europe
this year due to problems in its banking system and concerns over political instability.