First day in the job and Italy’s new prime minister designate Enrico Letta must try to form a government – the first after two months of political stalemate.
The centre-left veteran will need all his diplomatic skills to succeed with both his own Democratic Party and Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party laying claim to key posts.
According to political scientist Professor James Walston, that is the least of his problems:
“He has the essential quality of a new leader at the moment. He is uncontroversial and he can make bridges. It will be pretty easy to form a government in terms of filling the cabinet posts and the under-secretaries. It will be very difficult to set up a programme which they can both, both sides, or the three elements can agree on.”
Letta says he wants institutional reforms, policies to cut unemployment and crucially an easing of austerity measures.
But his biggest challenge – should he pull a government together in the next few days – will be to restore political credibility in the minds of a disillusioned public.