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New parliament 'youngest' in history of Italian republic

Two chambers also have highest percentage of women

26 February, 17:01
New parliament 'youngest' in history of Italian republic (ANSA) - Rome, February 26 - The parliament to emerge from recent general elections is the youngest and has the highest number of women in the history of the Italian republic, according to data published by farmers' association Coldiretti on Tuesday.

Across both chambers members will have an average age of 48 years and 31% will be women, the study found. In the Chamber of Deputies, Italy's lower house, members will have an average age of 45, compared with 54 in the last parliament, and 32% will be women, against the former 21%.

In the Senate members will have an average age of 53, compared with the former 57, and 30% will be women, against the former 19%.

The party with the youngest representation is the anti-establishment Five Star Movement led by Genoa comic Beppe Grillo, with an average age of 37 years across both houses (33 in the Chamber of Deputies and 46 in the Senate).

It is followed by the right-wing and regionalist Northern League at 45 years (respectively 42 and 48), Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) at 49 (respectively 47 and 54), the left-wing Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) party of Puglia governor Nichi Vendola at 47 years (respectively 46 and 50), ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) at 54 years (respectively 50 and 57) and the centrist platform led by outgoing technocrat Premier Mario Monti at 55 years (respectively 55 and 56). Instead the PD has the highest percentage of women representatives (41%), followed by the M5S at 38% and Pdl and the Monti platform both at 22%. ''Over and above the various formations and hypothetical alliances, the new parliament represents in particular a generational challenge for the many young people who will enter it for the first time to perform important institutional functions upon which the country's future depends,'' said Coldiretti president Sergio Marini.

''Hopes of change rest with them in a country such as Italy that has the oldest ruling class in Europe, with an average age of 59 years, rising to 67 among bankers, 63 among university professors and 61 among managers of parastatal companies,'' he concluded.