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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

Former European Central Bank head Mario Draghi sworn in as Italian prime minister

The new government inherits an array of problems in an economy mired in the worst recession since the Second World War

The former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi was sworn in as Italy’s prime minister on Saturday, ending weeks of political gridlock and avoiding an election during the pandemic.

Mr Draghi was sworn in by President Sergio Mattarella at Rome’s Quirinale palace.

After the ceremony Mr Draghi and his government went straight to the prime minister's official residence where he will hold his first Cabinet meeting.

He unveiled his long-awaited government line-up on Friday, nominating the Bank of Italy’s Daniele Franco as finance minister.

His government inherits an array of problems, from a pandemic that has claimed more than 90,000 lives in the country to a debt load at almost 160 per cent of output in an economy mired in the worst recession since the Second World War.

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The Cabinet, with several political appointees, reflects Mr Draghi’s attempt to ensure support from the rival forces, after the collapse of the previous government of prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

Mr Draghi has picked a mix of technocrats and politicians from across the ideological spectrum that includes the centre-left Democratic Party – part of the Conte government – the anti-migrant League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.

The former Bank of Italy governor only agreed to form the government after securing support from most of Italy’s political parties.

Mr Draghi’s team is evidence both of his focus on the economy and the political compromises that are expected to be made.

This is a government “with a clear European and Atlantist profile", said Francesco Clementi, a professor of comparative public law at the University of Perugia.

“The ministers’ list shows a great awareness of the technical difficulty of governing in these difficult times, but also of the political perils that brings together very different parties.”

Updated: February 13, 2021 09:35 PM

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