Italian President Sergio Mattarella asked Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Sunday to try to form a new government, giving him a mandate to lead Italy out of a political crisis caused by the resignation of Matteo Renzi.
Gentiloni, a former journalist and Renzi loyalist, is set to be Italy’s fifth prime minister in as many years and the fourth in a row to take office without winning a national election.
The soft-spoken 62-year-old immediately began consultations to form a government that will have to write a new electoral law and manage Italy’s fragile banks.
“I am aware of the urgent need to give Italy a government with full powers, to reassure our fellow citizens, to confront our international, economic and social priorities,” he said.
Italy’s social and political divisions were laid bare in campaigning for a Dec. 4 referendum on constitutional reform that was roundly rejected, prompting Renzi to resign.