Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni was invited by President Sergio Mattarella to form the new government on 11 December 2016. The decision comes in the wake of Matteo Renzi’s resignation following a referendum defeat in the Parliament.
Renzi, whose term had almost neared three years, took the decision to resign on 4 December 2016 after voters rejected the constitutional reforms proposed by him.
Gentiloni, a close aid of the outgoing PM, will now have to put together his own new centre-left team before the parliamentary confidence vote, which is due on 14 December 2016. He was chosen after the opposition turned down the possibility of a national unity government and the President rejected opposition’s demand for an immediate election.
It is vital that Gentiloni succeeds in assembling a government, as Italy has a lot of issues that need immediate attention including international, economic and social issues. The state of the country’s banking sector is also dwindling and instant action is also required to assist the ongoing relief efforts following a series of deadly earthquakes that shook the nation in August and October.
• Prior to entering politics, Gentiloni had made a career in journalism.
• It was while serving as the director of an ecologist newspaper that he met Francesco Rutelli, former mayor of Rome and became his close aid.
• His official career in politics started with his election as a Member of Parliament in 2001.
• He was elected as the Minister for Communications in 2006 under the Romano Prodi Government.
• His true breakthrough came, when Matteo Renzi appointed him as the Foreign Affairs minister in 2014 despite the fact that he lacked the international experience required for the post.
• If elected, he will become Italy’s fifth premier since 2011.
Though next general elections are due only in 2018, chances of Gentiloni surviving in the office till then are very low, as many major opposition parties are demanding early elections as soon as the new electoral law is approved by the Parliament. In fact, one Italian party Five Star Movement has stated that it would boycott the upcoming confidence vote.