Open Europe Blog

Enrico Letta, deputy leader of Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party and Pier Luigi Bersani’s right hand, is very close to becoming Italy’s new Prime Minister. He’s currently meeting President Giorgio Napolitano (as you read this blog post), and will be given the mandate to form a new government.

Letta emerged as the main candidate in the last 24 hours. The fact that Napolitano has chosen Letta  is significant for at least two reasons:

  • Letta is undoubtedly a politician, as opposed to the previous favourite Giuliano Amato, who would have been seen as a technocratic Prime Minister. This means Napolitano has opted for a political solution to the post-election stalemate;
  • Letta is 47, and Amato is 75. So the choice made by 88-year-old Napolitano addresses the Italian electorate’s call for a rejuvenation of the political system. This is significant in the ‘old vs young’ struggle that has characterised Italian politics recently.

We will provide more detailed analysis once Letta unveils his list of ministers. In light of his appointment as Prime Minister, we would now expect politicians rather than technocrats to grab ministerial posts – although we can’t rule out the involvement of a couple of technocrats in the new cabinet. 

However, make no mistake: this move doesn’t wipe out the deep divisions among the main political parties, and whatever shape the government takes, it won’t be easy for Italy to continue with the reforms that the eurozone demands.

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