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Renzi poised to get mandate

Florence mayor, 39, could be Italy's youngest premier

15 February, 13:56
Renzi poised to get mandate (ANSA) - Rome, February 15 - Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi may get a mandate to form a government Saturday night or Sunday morning in his bid to become Italy's youngest premier, political sources said.

President Giorgio Napolitano is expected to wrap up talks with parties late Saturday and tap the 39-year-old Florence mayor to muster support for an executive replacing that of his PD colleague Enrico Letta. If he succeeds, he could be sworn in early next week as Italy's third straight unelected premier after Mario Monti and Letta.

Letta resigned Friday after the PD backed Renzi's call for a new government to lift Italy out of a "morass" of stymied reforms and slow-moving efforts to combat record unemployment.

Renzi has been likened to a young Tony Blair and been nicknamed Demolition Man by the international press for his long-declared ambition to "junk" Italy's dysfunctional political system and the elite that has failed to reform it.

He wants to introduce a new electoral law in place of one blamed for producing an inconclusive result last February that led to Letta's weak and unstable left-right administration.

Renzi, who is already reportedly working on a list of ministers and hammering out a stimulus plan to boost Italy fully out of its longest postwar recession, has vowed to forge an executive built to last until the end of the parliamentary term in 2018. His junior partner would be the same as Letta's: the New Centre Right, which split from centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi when the media magnate and three-time premier was ejected from parliament on a tax-fraud conviction.