Enrico Letta named as new Italian PM

Updated: 2013-04-25 06:47


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ROME - Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano on Wednesday named the center-left Democratic Party (PD) Vice Secretary Enrico Letta to form a new government in a bid to end political stalemate.

Letta said he accepted the mandate with reservation, and that, as a custom, he will dissolve "as soon as possible" after a round of consultations with political leaders on Thursday.

Enrico Letta named as new Italian PM

Deputy leader of Italy's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) Enrico Letta gestures as he speaks to reporters at the Quirinale Palace in Rome April 24, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

"The country is waiting for a government and we all know this situation cannot endure," Letta, a former minister and a former member of the European parliament, said after being nominated.

He said he felt a "profound sense of responsibility" in accepting the task, and will make his strongest efforts to "give answers to the country."

Letta, whose uncle Gianni is a key ally of three-time prime minister and PD opponent Silvio Berlusconi, said Italy was facing times of "huge and unbearable emergency."

Through what he called a "government of service to the country," Letta also said he aimed at "giving back to Italian politics the credibility it has completely lost in recent months."

Napolitano told journalists after nominating Letta that he was "satisfied and serene" about his choice. The decision came from awareness that the only possibility to exit the stalemate was a broad coalition able to give the new government a majority in both the equally powerful houses of parliament, the president said.

He also noted that Letta, though young for the Italian standards, has completed a significant experience in parliamentary and government activities.

Letta will try to form a coalition government capable of carrying out urgent measures to tackle deepening social-economic crisis, including changes to an electoral law considered largely responsible for the political impasse.

The main forces in parliament, namely the PD, Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PdL) and Civic Choice of outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, have agreed to support the Letta government.

Napolitano, the first president in Italy's history to be elected for a second term amid political turmoil last week, gave the mandate to Letta after a round of consultations with party leaders on Tuesday.

In the February 24-25 general election, the center-left won a majority in the lower house but not the Senate and was unable to reach cross-party consensus to form a government.

The PD Secretary Pier Luigi Bersani resigned after internal divisions led to failure of repeated efforts to elect a PD-backed Italy's president last week.

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