TIME Italy

Italy’s Youngest Ever Prime Minister Takes The Reins

Matteo Renzi, Italy's incoming prime minister, speaks during a news conference to announce the names of the cabinet ministers that will form Italy's new government on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.
Matteo Renzi, Italy's incoming prime minister, speaks during a news conference to announce the names of the cabinet ministers that will form Italy's new government on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. Bloomberg—Getty Images

Matteo Renzi takes office as Italy struggles under economic slump

Italy’s center-left leader Matteo Renzi took office Saturday as the country’s youngest ever prime minister, inheriting an unenviable position as the country struggles to emerge from crippling public debts and its worst economic slump since World War II.

The 39-year-old Renzi has chosen a cabinet half made up of women, and most of its members are low-profile figures unlikely to challenge his control of government, Reuters reports.

Renzi, who was formerly mayor of Florence, was not popularly elected and is the third prime minister in succession to be appointed without a mandate from voters, which could limit his ability to push through reform.

With Italy facing $2.75 trillion in public debt and a buckling industrial base, a wide range of businesses and union leaders have urged decisive action to rescue the country’s economy and keep millions of workers from going out of work.

Renzi has announced ambitious plans to overhaul Italy’s electoral and constitutional system to give the country more stable governments, and to reform the country’s tax and labor systems.

[Reuters]

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