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Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni is Italy's new Prime Minister

Monday, December 12th 2016 - 14:18 UTC
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Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni becomes Italy's new Prime Minister following the resignation of Matteo Renzi Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni becomes Italy's new Prime Minister following the resignation of Matteo Renzi

State President Sergio Mattarella commissioned the 62-year-old Social Democrat to form a new government. Gentiloni said his nomination was a “great honor,” which he wanted to fulfill with “consciousness of responsibility and dignity.” It is unclear whether he will remain in office until spring 2018.

 Gentiloni's future government, to be formed with the current political majority in Parliament, will need to focus on “international, economic and social issues,” and the reconstruction of parts of Central Italy recently his by devastating earthquakes. Gentiloni, who served as Foreign Minister under resigning Prime Minister Mateo Renzi following his defeat at a referendum to amend the Constitution, was also a substitute for that position when his predecessor, Federica Mogherini, was recruited to Brussels as the new Ombudsman in autumn 2014.

In foreign policy he sent his country, on the southern flank of the Union and on the migration route in the Mediterranean, through the refugee crisis, from negotiations in crises such as Libya and African countries to the initiatives of international corruption.

Gentiloni, an offspring of the ancient nobility family Gentiloni Silveri from the Central Italian brands, enjoys prestige on the international stage. Where the young Prime Minister Renzi often performed too rashly, the gentleman's elegance of Count Gentiloni often improved. Thus, he had given his predecessor an important edge protection for reform policy. Now he has to continue it.

The new prime minister is known to be Renzi's confidant, a faithful, reliable politician, although he is not part of the inner circle, the “magic lily” of the Renzi comrades from his hometown of Florence. He vehemently supported the reforms, was convinced that there will be a yes to constitutional reform as he told the “world” in the interview two days before the referendum.

But Gentiloni is not a Renzi hardliner, but rather a diplomat. While the outgoing prime minister was struggling with tears on the night of the referendum, Gentiloni looked forward. “I understand the disappointment, but you can only mourn one day. Then it must precede,” he wrote on Twitter.

Gentilonis Vita is characterized by politics, although he was not always a politician. One of his ancestors is Vincenzo Ottorino Gentiloni, who signed the so-called Gentiloni pact between the Vatican and the state at the beginning of the 20th century. He assured the Church of the right to the funding of Catholic schools and a right to co-legislature in politics. As a child Paolo Gentiloni went to a Catholic school. But the rebellion was not long in coming.

At the university, where the young, wild Paolo studied political sciences, he contributed to socialist student movements. At the end of the 1980s, he approached the Greens, became editor-in-chief of the magazine “La Nuova Ecologia” and in 1993 spokesman for the Green Mayor of Rome, Francesco Rutelli.

He then became a politician himself, joined the Parliament in 2001, and a year later he was the founder of the Liberal “Margherita”, a group of Christian Democrats, Leftists and Greens who, with the successors of the Communist Party, belonged to the Left Alliance Ulivo. In the government of the former EU Commissioner Romano Prodi, Gentiloni became Minister of Communications.

Gentiloni now faces a complicated year 2017. The challenges ahead: the implementation of several reforms in labor market policy, justice and public administration. The banking crisis, above all the difficult situation of the InstIt would be a quick solution, without the taxpayers and smallholders having to pay billions. An even higher tax burden and a lack of growth would force the electorate into the open arms of the opposition as if the five-Star movement, Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, the populist Lega Nord and right-wing fragmentation parties.

On the other hand, the governing Democratic Party (PD) needs a premier to hold them together. Fighting in their own party post-Renzi defeat, a wing-fight between his management team and the former Christian Democrat and former Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini broke out. At this stage, Gentiloni's diplomatic skill is required to escort Renzi's policy and even the ex-prime minister personally, without breaks until the next elections.

But all parties want immediate or early new elections 2017, long before the expiry of the legislature in spring 2018. The parliamentary groups must first agree on a new electoral law. In May, Gentiloni will also be host to the G-7 leaders in Taormina in Sicily.

The election campaign for the referendum on constitutional change has split the country, and the cracks go not only through parties, but through society as a whole, and even through families. Gentiloni is considered to be a politician with no special profile, but at this stage, in a continent-torn Italy and a shattered political landscape, in which the tone of the party is like a loud populist, the sober and also polyglot language of the politician Gentiloni is rather an advantage.

 

Categories: Politics, International.

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