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sergio mattarella

Paolo Gentiloni has been appointed Italy’s new prime minister after Matteo Renzi’s resignation.

Matteo Renzi resigned after losing a referendum on constitutional reform last week.

The 62-year-old former foreign minister is a loyalist from Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party.

Correspondents say that if Gentiloni is successful in rallying support a government could be formed in days.

Image source Wikipedia

Image source Wikipedia

In a brief acceptance speech, Paolo Gentiloni said he realized the urgency of forming the government to reassure the country.

The new prime minister said he would work within the framework of the previous administration, making it likely that he will reappoint several ministers.

Paolo Gentiloni faces a banking crisis and a rise in popular support for anti-establishment and eurosceptic parties.

Opposition parties have ruled out joining a national unity government, with the populist Five Star Movement saying it will boycott a parliamentary approval vote, due to take place on December 14, because it would have not legitimacy.

The party has called for immediate elections, currently due to be held in May 2018.

However, President Sergio Mattarella has said the current electoral rules must be revised so both houses of parliament are synchronized.

The law was changed to the so-called “Italicum” system last year to give the leading party a parliamentary majority through bonus seats in the lower Chamber of Deputies. But there has been no such change in the Senate, which is elected by proportional representation.

Senate reforms formed part of the package of reforms put to Italian voters on December 4, while the legitimacy of the system for the Chamber of Deputies is to be ruled on in January.

Matteo Renzi’s plans for constitutional reform were rejected by a margin of 59% to 41%, prompting his decision to stand down.

Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi has handed in his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, three days after losing a constitutional referendum he had staked his career on.

Matteo Renzi had promised to wait until the Senate passed the 2017 budget, which it did earlier in the day.

President Mattarella will start consultations with political parties over forming a caretaker government at 18:00 on December 8.

In the meantime, Matteo Renzi is to act as a “caretaker prime minister”.

The consultation, which is due to end on December 10, will look at where support lies for a new government, presidential aide Ugo Zampetti told reporters on December 7.

According to Reuters, President Mattarella is expected to ask a member of Matteo Renzi’s cabinet, or a politician from his Democratic Party (PD), to try to form a new government.

However, some are calling for the election, due in 2018, to be called early.

Italians voted on December 5 by a margin of 59% to 41% against Matteo Renzi’s plans for constitutional reform, prompting his decision to stand down.

Matteo Renzi is the youngest prime minister in Italy's history, and one of its least experienced

However, Matteo Renzi still wants to stay on the frontline of politics as he remains the leader of the biggest party in parliament, the PD, and will play a considerable role in suggesting the name of his replacement.

Before heading to the Quirinale presidential palace, Matteo Renzi told the PD it should only participate in a “government of national responsibility” if it has the support of the other political parties.

Otherwise, he said, “the PD is not afraid” of early elections.

Two of the big winners in December 3 referendum, the anti-EU Northern League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement, are pushing for early elections.

Other parties, such as the centre-right Forza Italia, are trailing in the polls and want elections delayed. Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi, 80, had tests in a Milan hospital on December 7, six months after he had heart surgery.

Names suggested as a possible leader of a new administration include PD Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and Senate leader Pietro Grasso, who is apolitical.

According to a source quoted in Italy, President Sergio Mattarella believes it is “inconceivable” that elections can be held before electoral laws governing both houses of parliament are synchronized.

The law was changed to the so-called “Italicum” system last year to give the leading party a parliamentary majority through bonus seats in the lower Chamber of Deputies. But there has been no such change in the Senate, which is elected by proportional representation.

Senate reforms were part of the package rejected on December 3. Another factor is that the constitutional court will rule on January 24 on whether the lower house reforms are legitimate.

Italy’s political turmoil has also led to days of uncertainty in international markets, amid questions over the fate of Italy’s indebted banks, especially its third largest, Monte dei Paschi, which is seeking €5 billion ($5.3 billion) to recapitalize.

Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi will meet President Sergio Mattarella to hand in his resignation after suffering a defeat in a constitutional referendum.

President Sergio Mattarella must either appoint a new prime minister or call early elections, as demanded by Italy’s opposition anti-establishment parties.

The president might also try to persuade Matteo Renzi to stay in charge until the 2017 budget is passed later this week, reports say.

European leaders have been playing down the risks of fallout from the crisis.

Matteo Renzi’s resignation comes amid fears of long-term instability for Italy’s troubled banking sector in the long-term. Shares in Italian banks lost ground following news of Matteo Renzi’s defeat.

Matteo Renzi is the youngest prime minister in Italy's history, and one of its least experienced

The No vote in December 4 constitutional referendum was widely seen as a rejection of establishment politics in Italy.

Matteo Renzi held a final cabinet meeting on December 5, before traveling to the presidential palace to submit his formal resignation.

In spite of the pressure from the opposition, early elections are thought to be unlikely.

Instead, the president may appoint a caretaker administration led by Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party, which would carry on until an election due in the spring of 2018.

Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan is the favorite to succeed Matteo Renzi as prime minister.

With most ballots counted, the No vote leads with 60% against 40% for Yes, with a 70% turnout, a heavier than expected defeat for the government.

Matteo Renzi staked his political future on his attempt to change Italy’s cumbersome political system. He wanted to strengthen central government and weaken the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

His opponents – including some within his own party – had argued that the reforms would give the prime minister too much power. The electorate agreed.

However, more than a resounding victory for the No camp, it was a chance for a medley of populist parties to reject establishment politics.

The opposition, headed by the Five Star Movement, capitalized on Matteo Renzi’s declining popularity, years of economic stagnation, and the problems caused by tens of thousands of migrants arriving in Italy from Africa.

After the vote, Matteo Renzi defended his record, saying exports and job numbers were up and unemployment was down to 11.7%.

Five Star’s leader, Beppe Grillo, has called for an election “within a week”.

President Sergio Mattarella, who praised the high voter turnout, called for a political climate with “serenity and mutual respect”.

There are obligations and deadlines which Italy’s institutions will have to honor “guaranteeing a response that meets the problems of the moment,” he said.

Italy voted in a constitutional referendum which is being closely watched for further signs of anti-establishment sentiment in Europe.

The vote, called by center-left PM Matteo Renzi, is formally on plans to streamline parliament but is expected to be used as a chance to register discontent.

Populist parties support a No vote.

The turnout on December 4 referendum has been very high by Italian standards – about 60% on average.

Nearly two-thirds of the electorate has voted in prosperous northern Italy but the turnout was much lower in the south.

Voting began at 07:00 and ended at 23:00 local time.

Matteo Renzi is the youngest prime minister in Italy's history, and one of its least experienced

PM Matteo Renzi, who has said he will resign if he loses, is set to address the Italian people at midnight.

In brief, the reforms include reducing the power of the Senate. Its members would be cut from 315 to 100, with most drawn from mayors and regional representatives.

Matteo Renzi, 41, says the reforms would speed up the cumbersome law-making process in Italy, which has had 60 governments since 1948.

Opponents say the proposals would concentrate too much power in the prime minister’s hands.

Some 50 million Italians have the right to vote in the referendum – many voters are fed up with years of economic stagnation.

An opinion poll in November gave the No vote a lead of at least five percentage points. But many Italians are thought to be still undecided.

The No campaign in Italy has been spearheaded by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, led by Beppe Grillo. It wants a referendum on whether Italy should keep the euro.

Populists, including the Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant Northern League, would receive a boost from the prime minister’s defeat.

If Italy votes No, it would follow a similar trend seen with the UK’s vote in June to leave the EU, as well as the rise of the anti-immigrant Front National in France and populist parties elsewhere (along with Donald Trump’s unexpected win in the US presidential election).

The possibility of Matteo Renzi falling from power has reignited concerns about financial stability in the eurozone’s third largest economy.

If Matteo Renzi does lose, it is still not entirely certain that he will be out of power.

President Sergio Mattarella could ask Matteo Renzi to form a new government or appoint a technocratic prime minister to serve until elections due in 2018.

Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi has named constitutional court judge Sergio Mattarella as his candidate, as parliament chooses a new president.

In Italy, the president has a largely ceremonial role, but the vote is seen as an important moment for Matteo Renzi, after the resignation of Giorgio Napolitano earlier this month.

Giorgio Napolitano, 89, stood down this month, citing “signs of fatigue”.

No result is expected before February 1, as a winning candidate needs a two-thirds majority in initial voting.

More than 1,000 people were due to vote in the procedure, which began on January 29, including both the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and 58 regional representatives.

Giorgio Napolitano was applauded as he entered the chamber to cast his vote in the first round, having told journalists that Sergio Mattarella was a person of “absolute loyalty and propriety”.

Photo ANSA

Photo ANSA

Sergio Mattarella once served as defense minister and is a member of Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD). His nomination was given unanimous support at a meeting of party voters, who number around 400.

However, a candidate needs 673 votes to succeed in the first three rounds, and that is seen as unlikely. Italy’s RAI TV suggested Sergio Mattarella could attract some 561 votes.

If voting extends to a fourth round on January 31, a simple majority of 505 would be enough for him to become 12th president of the Italian republic.

Under the constitution, any Italian citizen over 50 can be nominated by lawmakers.

The role has the key power of appointing a prime minister.

Giorgio Napolitano named five prime ministers during his eight-and-a-half years in office.

He retired earlier this month, aged 89, saying poor health meant he was no longer able to do his job as he wished.

Giorgio Napolitano had only agreed to serve a second term in an attempt to end political paralysis after inconclusive elections in 2013.

Matteo Renzi’s party will need further backing from other parties, such as Nichi Vendola’s Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) Party, former members of Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star Party, and centrist parties such Civic Choice.

However, the centre-right Forza Italia Party of former PM Silvio Berlusconi is opposed to Sergio Mattarella’s candidacy.

Silvio Berlusconi was said to support another former premier, Giuliano Amato, and the ballot is secret, so rebel lawmakers could sabotage a vote, which happened when a large number of PD electors failed to support the party candidate two years ago.

Although Silvio Berlusconi is no longer in the Senate, because of his conviction for tax fraud, he still leads Forza Italia.

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