Six women in D'Alema's new cabinet

Political realignment: Italy swells the ranks of Europe's new left club, leaving Blair isolated in the centre

THE ITALIAN Prime Minister, Massimo D'Alema, has announced a team of cabinet ministers that the Italian media has already described as "un governo tinto di rosa" - a pink-tinged cabinet - because of the record six female ministers.

While the term may offend the new female Equal Opportunities minister, it accurately depicts the political hue of the new government, a mixture of red for the Communists and white, the symbol of the former Christian Democrat Party.

Presenting the new line-up, Mr D'Alema, 49, head of the Left Democrats, said the cabinet had been enlarged to 25 to accommodate a larger female component. Political commentators say that the horse trading and crossed vetoes on candidatures meant more jobs were essential.

The new government,which will be the 56th post-war administration, must still be ratified by parliament. Mr D'Alema is keen to be firmly in the prime minister's seat before this weekend's European Union summit in Austria.

In the cabinet, Mr D'Alema's Left Democrats have seven ministers, the Popular Party - heirs to the Christian Democrats - six, the small UDR party (Union of Democrats for the Republic) three, the Greens, the moderate Italian Renewal and the Italian Communists two apiece and the tiny Socialist party one. The remainder of the 25 jobs were filled by technocrats.

The most significant of the female appointments is that of 62-year-old Rosa Russo Jervolino, a former Christian Democrat to the Interior Ministry, until now a male bastion. The American- educated environmental campaigner, Giovanna Melandri, takes over the Ministry of Culture. Ms Melandri, 36, has put up with her male colleagues voting her the most glamourous woman in parliament.

One of the most hotly disputed posts had been that of education because of a long battle over state financing for Catholic schools. The small UDR party, whose support was crucial for the formation of the government, proposed Rocco Buttiglione, a Catholic philosopher, who was boycotted by the Italian left as a fundamentalist. The issue was resolved by splitting the job in two - allowing the current left-wing minister to remain and appointing a moderate Catholic to the new Ministry of University and Research.

One of the few real surprises was the appointment of Oliviero Diliberto, of the Italian Communists, to the Justice Ministry, an especially sensitive job given the involvement of the opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi in many corruption investigations and his attacks on the independence of the judiciary.

Antonio Bassolino, 51, the charismatic mayor who was responsible for the renaissance of Naples, becomes Labour minister, and the former prime minister Giuliano Amato takes over the port- folio of institutional reform.

Political analysts say the equilibrium between widely divergent political forces will be difficult to maintain but the government could be in place until the end of this legislature, in 2001.

Having brought the Communists to government, Mr D'Alema is no longer subject to the intermittent threats to pull the plug that dogged his predecessor, Romano Prodi. The main threat is likely to come from the astute political veteran Francesco Cossiga and his desire to re-create a large centre party, just like the old Christian Democrats, that would hold the balance of power in Italian politics.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells