Italian centre-left politician Enrico Letta has managed to get agreement for a new government, ending two months of deadlock following inconclusive elections.
Crucially, the compromise cabinet includes a top job for Angelino Alfano, one of former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s closest allies.
Letta, who at 46 is Italy’s second youngest leader since World War Two, told reporters: “It’s a team of ministers that has the following characteristics: it is a very competent and a young group. It also includes a record number of women, and as far as I’m concerned that is one of the most satisfying aspects.”
Letta has said his priorities would be the economy, unemployment and restoring faith in Italy’s discredited political institutions as well as trying to turn Europe away from austerity to focus more on growth and investment.
The squabbling among politicians was brought to an end by Italy’s 87-year-old President Giorgio Napolitano chosing Letta as a bridge builder.
He was able to co-opt Berlusconi, who has no official government role; but Alfano as deputy PM and interior minister, will give the centre-right a powerful voice at the heart of the new government.
To reassure the financial markets, a non politician, Bank of Italy director general Fabrizio Saccomanni, has the tough job of economy minister, tasked with pushing through the major reforms needed to get Italy out of recession and avoid bankruptcy.
Anna Maria Cancellieri, who served in the technocrat government of Mario Monti get the justice portfolio.
Former European Commissioner Emma Bonino will be foreign minister – one of seven women in the 21 member cabinet.
Congo-born Cecile Kyenge, named minister for integration, is to be its first black minister.
The government was due to be sworn in on Sunday morning and Letta is expected to go before parliament to seek a vote of confidence on Monday.
The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement has refused to join a government which party leader Beppe Grillo said “bordered on incestuous” given the relationship between Letta and his uncle Gianni Letta, Berlusconi’s long-time chief of staff.