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Renzi given government mandate

PD chief set to become youngest premier in Italian history

17 February, 12:00
Renzi given government mandate (see previous) (ANSA) - Rome, February 17 - Premier-in-waiting Matteo Renzi was given a mandate to try to form a government from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Monday. The center-left Democratic Party (PD) head must now hold talks with other parties on setting a government program and forming a new cabinet. If successful, the 39-year-old will become the youngest Italian premier in history.

He would also become the third-straight non-elected premier, after Mario Monti and Enrico Letta. Renzi forced Letta's ouster Thursday at a meeting of the PD, the largest party in parliament, in which they voted almost unanimously to pull support from Letta, of the PD, for failing to move more swiftly towards reforms to streamline government and jumpstart an economy ravaged by record youth unemployment and crippling debt as the country comes out of its worst postwar recession. In order to launch a new executive with Renzi at the helm, the charismatic reformer will need to win over the support of several small centrist parties and the New Centre Right (NCD) of Angelino Alfano, Letta's deputy premier and interior minister, to have a working majority in the Senate.

Other challenges include convincing the people he wants to join a cabinet that appears likely to face the same insecurity that marked its predecessors. Andrea Guerra, the CEO of Italian eyewear giant Luxottica, has already refused a rumored offer to become industry minister, and former Italian premier Romano Prodi has shot down media speculation he could be tapped as economy minister.