Paolo Gentiloni becomes Italy's prime minister, pledges to form new government

By Allen Cone  |  Dec. 11, 2016 at 12:28 PM
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ROME, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Paolo Gentiloni, Italy's foreign minister, was chosen to become prime minister and pledged to form a new government as the nation faces a banking crisis.

Sergio Mattarella, Italy's president, summoned Gentiloni to the Quirinal palace in central Rome, and asked him to replace Matteo Renzi.

Gentiloni, 62, told reporters he accepted the mandate "with great honor and responsibility." The parliament then can give a vote of confidence on the new government.

"I am aware of the urgent need to give Italy a government with full powers," he said.

He told reporters he soon will return to Mattarella with a list of ministers.

Gentiloni joined the Renzi government as foreign minister in October 2014 after Federica Mogherini became Europe's foreign policy chief.

Gentiloni has the support of center-left Democratic Party, the largest party in parliament, and a good relationship with former Premier Silvio Berlusconi after serving as communications minister in the mid-2000s.

Italian parties are now pushing for elections earlier than the scheduled spring 2018.

Renzi resigned after a defeat in last Sunday's referendum on constitutional reform. He was prime minister two months shy of three years.

The new prime minister must deal with a growing economic crisis.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena S.P.A., Italy's No. 3 lender, needs a capital injection from the government. On Friday, the European Central Bank refused the bank's request for a 20-day extension deadline at the end of the year to raise new capital.

The Wall Street Journal reported Gentiloni is likely to reconfirm Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, who has led Italy's efforts to solve the country's banking problems.

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