April 24, 2013 - 16:50 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Wednesday, April 24 asked center-left deputy leader Enrico Letta to form a new government, signaling the end of a damaging two-month vacuum since elections in the euro zone's third largest economy in February, Reuters reported.
The prime minister designate is expected to quickly select a group of ministers, mixed between politicians and technocrats, under the guidance of Napolitano, whose own unprecedented re-election last weekend opened the way for an end to the crisis.
The new government led by Letta, a former Christian Democrat from the right wing of his Democratic Party (PD), could go to parliament for a vote of confidence by this weekend.
Formation of a government after two months of turbulent political impasse will send a signal that Italy might at last be ready to make a start on much-needed reforms.
Accepting his mandate, Letta said he was surprised by the nomination and felt the profound responsibility on his shoulders.
Italy faced a "difficult and fragile" situation which could not continue and the government must provide answers on jobs, poverty and the crisis facing small businesses in a deep recession, he said.
He added that European economic policies have been too focused on austerity instead of growth. Napolitano's choice of Letta instead of veteran former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, who was said to have been his original favorite, indicated he had plumped for a more political figure who reflects a generational change in Italian politics.
Letta, an urbane moderate who speaks fluent English, is 46 against Amato's 74 and is an elected member of parliament unlike the older, more experienced man.
He will be the second youngest prime minister in Italian history and as a staunch pro-European is likely to be welcomed by foreign governments and markets.
The new government will be backed primarily by Letta's center-left and the center-right of Silvio Berlusconi, which had hitherto failed to cut a deal following inconclusive elections in late February.