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Italy prepares to swear in youngest-ever PM

Published on Feb 22, 2014 5:54 PM
 
Italy's newly elected Prime Minister Matteo Renzi arrives for a news conference following a meeting with Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, in which he has unveiled the names of the members of his government, at the Qurinale presidential palace in Rome, Feb 21, 2014. Italy prepared to swear in its youngest-ever PM and his fresh-faced cabinet on Saturday, Feb 22, 2014, amid widespread scepticism that the new government has the political maturity to tackle the country's formidable challenges. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - Italy prepared to swear in its youngest-ever PM and his fresh-faced cabinet on Saturday, amid widespread scepticism that the new government has the political maturity to tackle the country's formidable challenges.

Centre-left leader Matteo Renzi takes over the reigns of the eurozone's third largest economy in a period of increasing frustration among ordinary Italians hard hit by a deep recession and weary of broken political promises.

In his 16-strong cabinet, unveiled late on Friday, half of the new ministers are women and - with an average age of 47.8 years - it is the youngest government in Italy's history. It is also the third unelected government to be sworn in in as many years.

Mr Renzi is "gambling on freshness, newness and energy", but "doubts must be raised over the government's experience and ability to have a bearing on the worst post-war economic crisis Italy has known," said political watcher Mario Calabresi in La Stampa daily.

 
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