Who is Italy's quiet leader?

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni
By Euronews
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni comes across as the classic "signore", an upper-middle class Italian male with refined tastes.


Unflashy Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni has conquered the centre ground so coveted by former premier Matteo Renzi, becoming more popular than the anti-immigrant firebrands dominating the headlines in the general election campaign -- and even his old boss.

Gentiloni's appointment as PM in December 2016 was widely seen in Italy as a containment move by the outgoing Matteo Renzi, head of the ruling Democratic Party (PD), who had just resigned after losing a referendum on constitutional reform.

Leader of the populist Five Star Movement Luigi Di Maio called the 63-year-old Gentiloni "Renzi's avatar" while Giorgia Meloni, head of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, which is in former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing coalition, referred to him as "a puppet".

Few observers fancied his chances of lasting more than a few months in the hot seat.

But with the strong possibility of a hung parliament after the general election on March 4, Gentiloni could remain in that hot seat far beyond polling day, something that would satisfy much of the Italian public.

A recent poll carried out by Istituto Piepoli for daily La Stampa had Gentiloni with a 44 percent approval rating, well ahead of both Di Maio, his nearest rival, and Renzi.

Berlusconi's popularity has fallen, partly due to his sex scandals and legal woes, but his right-wing coalition is expected to pick up the most votes on election day.

Barred from public office because of a fraud conviction, the 81-year-old Berlusconi remains a key figure at the head of his party and sees himself as a kingmaker.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

EU candidate Moldova takes action to prevent Russian influence in referendum

New Slovak president Peter Pellegrini yet to define political stance - analyst

Peter Pellegrini to become next Slovakian president