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Renzi poised to get government mandate

Obstacles remain amid protests demanding elections

17 February, 11:18
Renzi poised to get government mandate (ANSA) - Rome, February 17 - Matteo Renzi, the head of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), was poised to receive a mandate to try to form a government from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Monday. Their meeting was met by protests outside the presidential palace from opposition parties demanding elections, now that Renzi appears destined to become the third-straight unelected premier. The ascent to power came as the charismatic 39-year-old held a PD meeting on Thursday, when the party voted overwhelmingly in favor of toppling the executive of outgoing PD Premier Enrico Letta, who had struggled to make swift economic and electoral reforms in his 10-months at the helm. Before Renzi takes over he will have to win the support of small centrist parties and the New Center Right (NCD) of Angelino Alfano, Letta's interior minister and deputy premier. Other challenges include convincing the people he wants to join a cabinet that appears destined 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.