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Deadlock broken as Italy names a new government

Deadlock broken as Italy names a new government
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Ending two months of political deadlock, Italy’s centre-left prime minister designate Enrico Letta has confirmed he is able to form a coalition government.

That follows talks with former centre-right premier Silvio Berlusconi, as a result of which a close ally of Berlusconi’s – Angelino Alfano – will be deputy prime minister and interior minister. Berlusconi himself has no official role.

The tough job of economy minister has been given to the Bank of Italy’s director general Fabrizio Saccomanni. He will have to spearhead the major economic reforms demanded by the European Union to get Italy out of recession and so that Rome can keep borrowing to avoid bankruptcy.

The government will be sworn in on Sunday morning and Letta is expected to go before parliament to seek a vote of confidence on Monday.

Cobbling together a government is one thing. More difficult will be agreeing on policies to get Italy’s economy growing again, and to restore confidence in its discredited political institutions.