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Paolo Gentiloni to be Italy's new prime minister

Paolo Gentiloni to be Italy's new prime minister
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By Catherine Hardy
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Caretaker Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned last week after losing a referendum on constitutional reform.

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Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni will be the country’s new prime minister.

Gentiloni was summoned for talks at the presidential palace on Sunday morning.

President Sergio Mattarella asked the 62-year-old to form a new government.

After consulting with around 40 political parties over the past three days, Mattarella pledged on Saturday to act quickly to give the country a fully-
functioning government.

Gentiloni promised to begin work on forming a new government as soon as possible.

“During the negotiations, we noted the reluctance of the opposition parties to share the responsibilities of the new government,” he told reporters.

“Therefore, we are not doing this by choice, but rather because we have the duty to do it. And so, we will proceed with the government and the current majority.”

BREAKING: Italy Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni to form new government as prime minister https://t.co/SEwQSqFlHGpic.twitter.com/sYCnyS4skg

— dwnews (@dwnews) December 11, 2016

BREAKING: New Italian Premier-designate Paolo Gentiloni says he'll try to form Italy's new government as soon as possible.

— The Associated Press (@AP) December 11, 2016

Why is the position vacant?

Caretaker Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned last week after losing a referendum on constitutional reform.

His plans were voted down by 59% to 41%, prompting him to honour a pledge he had made to stand down.

BREAKING: Italian Prime Minister Renzi has resigned – statement from president's office pic.twitter.com/B8Zgx9k4fK

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) December 7, 2016

Italian PM Matteo Renzi officially submits resignation after earlier defeat in referendum on constitutional reform. https://t.co/wj2xO4nABkpic.twitter.com/eXC87iBwqK

— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 7, 2016

What now for Gentiloni?

After formally receiving the mandate from Mattarella, the 62-year-old former journalist will begin consulting with political groups to form a government.

Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) has a majority in both houses of parliament.

However, the PD itself is severely divided between Renzi backers, like Gentiloni, and opponents.

He will report back to Mattarella on his progress in rallying support.

If he cannot form a government, Mattarella could ask someone else to try.

If, however, Gentiloni is successful, a new government could be installed within days.

Early elections?

All Italy’s major parties have called for elections as soon as possible.

However, before any vote can be held, the country needs a new electoral law to replace one that applies only to the lower house.

This could be declared illegitimate in January by Italy’s constitutional court.

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The legislature is due to carry on until 2018.

However, early elections could be called at any time after parliament rewrites the electoral law.

The legislature is due to carry on until 2018, but early elections could be called at any time after parliament rewrites the electoral law.

A banking crisis?

Italy’s next prime minister will immediately face a crisis in the banking sector.

The country’s third-largest lender, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, may need state intervention to avoid collapse.

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Italy readying state bailout for Monte dei Paschi bank: sources https://t.co/yBtHqACBnhpic.twitter.com/PR2FcjauUf

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) December 6, 2016

Did you know?

Italy has had 63 governments in the last 70 years.

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