Matteo Renzi set to be asked to be new Italian prime minister

Renzi would become Italy's youngest premier since the formation of the republic after World War II

The mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, has been summoned to the Italian presidential palace, where he is today expected to be asked to form a new government and become the country's youngest-ever premier.

The 39-year-old Democratic Party leader's first challenge would be to form a coalition that is dynamic and harmonious enough in Italy's squabbling landscape to kick-start the economy, create jobs and prod Parliament to enact electoral reforms designed to make the nation more governable.

President Giorgio Napolitano's office announced on Sunday that he will meet with Renzi the following day.

Through internal maneuvering in the Democratic Party, Renzi engineered the collapse last week of Premier Enrico Letta's government. That 10-month-old broad coalition of bitter rivals was cobbled together after last year's election yielded political gridlock.

Only days before Democratic Party leaders used a no-confidence vote to force Letta to resign on Friday, the ambitious Renzi had assured the premier that he had nothing to worry about — promising that he would only seek the premiership through the ballot box.

If he becomes premier now, Renzi would be the youngest one in the dozens of governments that Italy has had since the republic was formed after World War II.

Detractors who have criticised Renzi as too ambitious and power hungry have pointed out that Benito Mussolini also was 39 when Italy's monarch asked the Fascist leader to form a government in 1922.

If tapped by Napolitano as expected today, Renzi will have to try to forge a solid coalition government with centre-right and centrist parties, since his own Democrats cannot command a reliable majority in both chambers. Then Renzi must win mandatory confidence votes in Parliament, convincing lawmakers he is the man of the hour needed to be the premier of the economically-struggling country.

One hurdle emerged on Sunday.

Angelino Alfano, the leader of a centre-right force in Letta's coalition, told his party's base that he will demand promises from Renzi before joining the new government. Alfano, the interior minister in the outgoing government, pressed Renzi to identify his goals.

Alfano's small party broke away from longtime conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi, who is now the main opposition leader.

Renzi has alienated some in his own party by reneging on pledges to become premier only through a general election. And Renzi's abrupt betrayal of Letta left many wondering why.

Italy's economy has just shown its first signs of positive growth after several years of shrinking or being stagnant. The much-watched ''spread“ between interest rates on Italian state bonds and benchmark German ones has narrowed since the turmoil in world financial markets forced Berlusconi to resign in 2011.

Asked on Sky TG24 TV what was behind Renzi's power move, Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni cited “increasing impatience” with Italy's economic morass.

The heads of Italy's industrialists lobby and the chief of the nation's largest labor confederation recently stepped up their grumbling about the slow pace of progress by the Letta government.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones