Renzi promises reforms as he becomes Italian prime minister

Feb. 22, 2014 at 9:59 AM

ROME, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Matteo Renzi was sworn in as Italy's youngest-ever prime minister Saturday, pledging reforms to awaken the country's stagnant economy.

Renzi, 39, ousted fellow Democratic Party member Enrico Letta as prime minister last month, charging Letta had failed to institute promised reforms, the BBC reported.

Announcing his cabinet Friday, Renzi named Pier Carlo Padoun as finance minister. Padoun is a senior economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

Angelino Alfano, head of the coalition New Center Right party, retains his role as interior minister.

"I have accepted the responsibility of giving Italy a government of hope," Renzi said after meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano Friday, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

His government "has the chance to achieve reforms that have not been done for year," Renzi said. "The country has no alternative."

Renzi's government has the same coalition partners assembled by his predecessor. Of 16 cabinet members, half are women.

One of the first reforms Renzi has promised is a new election law to replace the system declared unconstitutional in December. That will followed by labor, public administration and fiscal reforms, he said Monday.

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