Italy’s newly-apppointed prime minister has unveiled his government.
Paolo Gentiloni has kept almost all the outgoing ministers in place in a sign of continuity commentators say is aimed at reassuring the financial markets.
However, a small centre-right party that had supported previous premier Matteo Renzi said it might not back the new government.
This would raise doubts over whether Gentiloni will have the numbers in parliament to form a majority.
A quick turnaround
In a rapid transfer of power from Renzi, Gentiloni took just a day to put his team of ministers together.
Renzi quit last week after losing a referendum on December the 4th.
Among those confirmed in their post is Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan.
He is overseeing Treasury efforts to prevent Italy’s third-largest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, from collapsing under the weight of bad loans.
Gentiloni was foreign minister in the last administration and has passed the job over to Angelino Alfano, previously interior minister.
Many other key ministers, including those overseeing defence, industry, health and justice, remain unchanged.
The centre-left Democratic Party (PD) has maintained the lion’s share of positions.
Read the full list here (in Italian)
The new cabinet was sworn in later on Monday.
It will open the way for fresh confidence votes in both houses of parliament this week.
Electoral law reform
One of Gentiloni’s main tasks will be to draw up a new electoral law.
If this reform is completed quickly, it could open the way to an election in the first half of 2017, a year ahead of schedule.
Italy has different electoral laws for its two chambers and the president has said they need to be harmonised to try to make sure a solid government can emerge from the next ballot.
The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement is pushing for a rapid reform and a vote as soon as possible.
Renzi also wants an early election.
Commentators say he is hoping to steam-roller critics within his own PD and present himself as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.
Lilia Rotoloni from the Italian Language Service at Euronews says the goal of the new government is to continue with Matteo Renzi’s policies even though he is longer in power.
“The aim is to guarantee stability, especially internationally and regarding Italy’s banking system. Operationally, the main aim is to approve a new election law that will lead to fresh elections.”
“The real change will come with the new electoral legislation and the next election, if the government manages to withstand attacks from the opposition, who are strong and determined to topple the administration.”
What they are saying
“The next election, presumably in June, will be held with a proportional voting system,” – Matteo Renzi said in an interview with Quotidiano.net.
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