Editorial: Letta's appointment is a small step forward in Italy

The new Prime Minster must turn immediately to economic reform


It hardly needed Sunday’s shooting outside the Rome residence of the incoming Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, to reveal the extent to which Italians are sick of the corrupt and ineffective political class. The jobless gunman came to Rome to shoot lawmakers – when he could not find any, he fired at the police instead.

Senseless and immoral as such actions may be, the attack has nonetheless turned the spotlight on to the spiralling unemployment and poverty in Italy – and added to the sense that the political establishment is to blame.

Certainly, the new national unity government that was sworn in on Sunday morning and endorsed by a parliamentary confidence vote on Monday night, will be aware that reviving Italy’s sclerotic economy is a top priority.

After the inconclusive general election, the head of state, Giorgio Napolitano, broke two months of parliamentary gridlock by appointing Mr Letta, a moderate centre-left figure, to lead an unlikely group of centre-left, conservative and technocrat figures, to the vital task.

The question now, of course, is what so politically disparate a cabinet can hope to achieve. Mr Letta is pinning his hopes on job-creation schemes and less austerity. And criticism of spending cuts from Silvio Berlusconi – who may not be in government, but is still pulling strings – suggests that here, at least, the new leader might not face too much discord. His other key task will be to reform the voting system which so conspicuously failed to deliver a strong government two months ago.

Mr Letta’s political skills are much talked of. He will need them if he is to achieve even these basic goals before inevitable tensions between the left and the right take Italy back to the polls. A quarter of the electorate voted for Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement in February. Obstructive in coalition talks, the party has been cut out by the latest grand bargain. But unless Mr Letta et al can prove that they are not just more of the same, Mr Grillo may not remain on the bench for long.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot