ROME (AP) — Matteo Renzi has been summoned to the presidential palace, where the 39-year-old mayor of Florence is expected to be asked on Monday to form a new government and become Italy's youngest-ever premier.
The Democratic Party leader's first challenge would be to form a coalition that is dynamic and harmonious enough in Italy's squabbling landscape to kick-start the economy, create jobs and prod Parliament to enact electoral reforms designed to make the nation more governable.
President Giorgio Napolitano's office announced Sunday that he will meet with Renzi the following day.
Through internal maneuvering in the Democratic Party, Renzi engineered the collapse last week of Premier Enrico Letta's government. That 10-month-old broad coalition of bitter rivals was cobbled together after last year's election yielded political gridlock.
Only days before Democratic Party leaders used a no-confidence vote to force Letta to resign Friday, the ambitious Renzi had assured the premier that he had nothing to worry about — promising that he would only seek the premiership through the ballot box.
If he becomes premier now, Renzi would be the youngest one in the dozens of governments that Italy has had since the republic was formed after World War II.
Detractors who have criticized Renzi as too ambitious and power hungry have pointed out that Benito Mussolini also was 39 when Italy's monarch asked the Fascist leader to form a government in 1922.
If tapped by Napolitano as expected on Monday, Renzi will have to try to forge a solid coalition government with center-right and centrist parties, since his own Democrats cannot command a reliable majority in both chambers. Then Renzi must win mandatory confidence votes in Parliament, convincing lawmakers he is the man of the hour needed to be the premier of the economically-struggling country.
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