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Italy's premier-to-be Renzi prepares for coalition talks

Published on Feb 18, 2014 5:57 AM
The head of the leftist Democratic Party, Mr Matteo Renzi, speaks to reporters at Quirinale Palace in Rome on Feb 17, 2014, after being nominated Italy's youngest-ever prime minister by President Giorgio Napolitano. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - Italy's Matteo Renzi was nominated to be the European Union's youngest prime minister on Monday and immediately outlined an ambitious reform plan, promising "energy, enthusiasm and commitment" to revitalise the eurozone's third largest economy.

Mr Renzi said he would begin formal coalition talks on Tuesday and predicted they would take "a few days" as he negotiates to form a stable government that can survive until the next scheduled elections in 2018.

The 39-year-old mayor of Florence said his first priority would be to tackle relentless unemployment levels and pitiful economic growth, promising Italians he would do everything possible to alleviate "despair".

The head of the leftist Democratic Party (PD) has raised hopes in a country thirsting for change after ousting ex-premier Enrico Letta - a member of Mr Renzi's party whom he accused of failing to live up to reform pledges.

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