UK & World News

  • 22 February 2014, 12:58

Renzi Sworn In As Italy's Youngest PM

Matteo Renzi has been formally sworn in as Italy's youngest prime minister.

The 39-year-old leader of the centre-left Democratic Party has pledged to transform Italy's economy and politics with an ambitious reform programme for his first 100 days in office.

The popular former Mayor of Florence said on Friday after accepting the mandate to govern: "We aim tomorrow morning to immediately do the things that need to get done."

On Friday he named his cabinet and pledged to say in power until the end of the current parliament in 2018.

Renzi scraped together a coalition government after accepting the mandate following a party coup last week which saw Enrico Letta step down after 10 months in charge of a fragile coalition.

Mr Renzi has been compared to Tony Blair because of his ease with communication - he delivers his speeches without notes, ambition and determination to seize the centre ground and win over those who would usually vote for the Right.

Despite never having been elected to parliament, he has already been praised for restoring the credibility of the centre-left. And polls suggest he is popular.

He quickly won the support of the centre-Right former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who phoned him to offer congratulations after he won the vote as leader of the Democratic Party in December.

His Democratic Party will remain the biggest party, bolstered by two smaller groupings - supporters of former premier Mario Monti and former loyalists of Mr Berlusconi.

However, the former Boy Scout leader will have to contend with 40% youth unemployment, low growth and a stagnant economy, corruption and a pressing 1.6trn public debt.

He claims his youth and energy will help him deliver. But these qualities have been used against him and critics claim he lacks experience.

While he has a good track record as Mayor of Florence, there are many who say that while he has been good at making promises, he has been less impressive when it comes to keeping them.

Mr Renzi named his cabinet on Friday with few star names, although he did appoint the well-respected chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan of the think-tank Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development as his economy minister.

Mr Renzi will be the third prime minister to come into office without being elected following the inconclusive elections in 2013.

It is hoped political reforms will return a clear winner at the next General Election.

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