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Italy - Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni

Paolo GentiloniPaolo Gentiloni, Italy's outgoing foreign minister, was summoned to the Palazzo del Quirinale, an official residence of President Mattarella in Rome, just after midday on 11 December 2016. Gentiloni made a short statement after the meeting saying he had accepted the assignment as a "high honor" and would carry out the role with "dignity" and "responsibility," preparing the way for a new electoral law. President Mattarella had said he would act quickly to give the country a fully functioning government after holding 23 separate meetings with leaders of all parties over the previous three days following the resignation of the previous caretaker prime minister, Matteo Renzi, who was defeated in a referendum on constitutional reforms.

Paolo Gentiloni was born in Rome on 22 November 1954. A professional journalist, he graduated in Political Science at the La Sapienza University of Rome. In the nineties he worked at the Municipality of Rome as spokesman for the Mayor and Councilor for the Jubilee and international relations. He then acted as coordinator of the Ulivo campaign for the 2001 general elections. Elected to Parliament in 2001, he was President of the Rai Bicameral Supervisory Commission in the two-year period 2005-2006 and Minister of Communications in the second Prodi Government (2006-2008).

In the 2013 general elections he was elected in Rome, in the XV constituency (Lazio 1), on the list of the Democratic Party for the Chamber of Deputies. During the XVII legislature he was a member of the Foreign Affairs and Community Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of the Standing Committee on Africa and global issues.

He then presided over the bilateral section of Italy-United States friendship within the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Former member of the National Assembly of the Democratic Party, he wss a member of the National Directorate of the same. He was a member of the Committee of 45 founders of the Democratic Party in 2007.

Gentiloni was called up from the back benches by Renzi and appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperationin October 2014 when the former incumbent Federica Mogherini went to Brussels to take over the top diplomatic post for the European Union as High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission. Previously, Gentiloni had served as communications minister for two years under the Romano Prodi government in the mid-2000s.

On 11 December 2016 Italy's President Sergio Mattarella asked Paolo Gentiloni to form a new government as prime minister. Italy's outgoing foreign minister, Gentiloni is a 62-year-old former journalist and member of the Democratic Party (PD) which Renzi still leads. The new prime minister was one of the most trusted ministers and his appointment should allow Renzi to retain some influence on public affairs ahead of a possible candidacy in the 2018 elections.

Italy must hold an election by February 2018, but opposition parties are calling for elections to be held up to a year early, saying the referendum result signified a vote of no confidence in the center-left coalition. Renzi reportedly supports a February 2017 election, calculating that the PD will emerge with the largest share of the vote despite the rise of support for the populist Five Star Movement.

Mattarellai rejected calls for immediate elections. All major parties called for elections as soon as possible. But Italy needed a new electoral law to replace one that applies only to the lower house and could be declared illegitimate in January 2017 by the Constitutional Court. The legislature was due to carry on until February 2018, but early elections could be called at any time after parliament rewrites the electoral law. A survey published by "Corriere della Sera" said new elections would be won by the M5S which was started by Beppe Grillo, a popular comedian and blogger.

The third-largest lender and the oldest surviving bank in the world, Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS,) may need state intervention to avoid collapse. The bank has been in business since 1472, but it failed European stress tests in July and needs to raise 5 billion euros ($5.2 billion) to cover losses from the cut-price sale of 28-billion euros worth of bad loans, as part of its efforts to restructure.

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Page last modified: 03-09-2019 10:15:12 ZULU