Will Italy’s political and economic problems develop into a new test for the future stability of the eurozone?
Italy’s foreign minister has been named the country’s new prime minister following Matteo Renzi’s resignation in the wake of a referendum defeat.
Paolo Gentiloni, 62, was asked by President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday to form a new centre-left government that will guide Italy to the elections that are due by February 2018.
A close ally of the outgoing premier, Gentiloni now has to put together his own government team in advance of a parliamentary approval vote expected on Wednesday.
Al Jazeera’s Sonia Gallego, reporting from Rome, said Gentiloni was already meeting speakers of the lower house and the Senate.
“The process involves a series of consultations that will take approximately a couple of days,” she said.
“Following that, he will announce whether he has been successful or not.”
In a brief statement, Gentiloni said there was an “urgent need for a fully functioning government” to address a series of pressing international, economic and social issues.
Among those is a looming crisis in the troubled banking sector as well as the ongoing relief efforts after a series of deadly earthquakes between August and October.
Mattarella turned to Gentiloni after opposition parties rebuffed overtures about a possible national unity government. The president rejected opposition demands for an immediate election.
“Not by choice but out of a sense of responsibility, I will be forming a government based on the outgoing majority,” Gentiloni said.
Renzi, who had been in power for two years and 10 months, resigned last week after voters overwhelmingly rejected a package of constitutional reforms on which he had staked his future.
The populist Five Star Movement, which has led calls for immediate elections, said it would boycott Wednesday’s vote because the new government would have no legitimacy.
“This government is not even worthy of a vote against it,” said Giulia Grillo, head of the Five Star group in the Senate.
All major parties have called for election as soon as possible.
But before any vote can take place, Mattarella has said Italy needs a new electoral law to replace one that applies only to the lower house and could be declared illegitimate in January by the Constitutional Court.
Elections are not due until 2018 but could be called as soon as parliament finishes rewriting the electoral law. Gentiloni said he would “facilitate, if possible, the parliamentary forces’ task of quickly defining new electoral rules”.