3rd Dec 2023

Italy hopes young, new PM will break deadlock

  • Letta (l) would be Italy's youngest Prime Minster in 25 years (Photo: Enrico Letta)

Italy nominated Enrico Letta as its new Prime Minister on Wednesday (24 April) in a move it hopes will end a two-month parliamentary deadlock.

"The country is waiting for a government. Everyone knows this is situation that cannot go on like this," Letta said.

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The prime-minister-designate is the deputy leader of the centre-left Democratic party (PD). At 46, he would be Italy’s youngest prime minister in 25 years.

The 87-year old Giorgio Napolitano, elected President over the weekend, chose Letta as the best candidate to create a broad-based coalition needed to form a government. Political parties have been unable to agree on a coalition since February elections.

He drove himself in his own Fiat estate car to accept the prime ministerial mandate.

Letta has a broad political background, with an uncle who worked as chief of staff during former PM Silvio Berlusconi's time in office.

He started off his political career with the centre-right Christian Democratic party, but later joined Romano Prodi’s centre-left coalition shortly after Berlusconi entered politics in 1994.

Letta was a youth member of the centre-right party from 1991 until 1995.

He has a degree in European Law and worked in the finance ministry until he became Italy's youngest minister of European affairs in 1998 at the age of 32.

He later worked in the industry ministry and the foreign trade ministry until 2001. In 2006, he was elected cabinet secretary in Prodi's government.

If he cobbles together a coalition, his first task will be to select ministers for his cabinet before the new government sets out to reform Italy's electoral law and revitalise a stagnating economy.

The BBC reports that he wants to streamline the parliament by cutting the number of deputies and by reforming the assembly.

"This government will not be born at any cost - there will be conditions. I will give my all for it because Italians are fed up with these little political games," he said.

Some analysts believe that the three-time PM and convicted fraudster Berlusconi's position has been strengthened by Letta's nomination.

Berlusconi’s coalition of conservatives is the second largest in the assembly with 241 lawmakers.

The 76-year-old billionaire is now the key figure in talks to shape the Letta’s new cabinet, reports Bloomberg.

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