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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Sport
Brendan Rodgers is confident that Sterling will put pen to paper on a new deal at Anfield
footballLIVE: Follow all the latest from tonight's Capital One quarter-finals
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Life and Style
tech
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

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

Rebranding Christmas

More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up
A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat

A sun-kissed island - yours for the price of a London flat

Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise
Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

New system means that evergreen songs could top the festive charts
Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence

Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys

He is a musician of wondrous oddity. He is on a perpetual quest to seek the lost tribes of the Welsh diaspora. Just don't ask Gruff Rhys if he's a national treasure...