Italy Appoints New Prime Minister Mario Monti

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November 13, 2011|3:23 pm

Economist Mario Monti has been appointed as Italy’s new prime minister today after the resignation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday.

The announcement of Italy’s new leader came from presidential spokesman Donato Marra after Italian President Giorgio Napolitano spent the whole day meeting with senior politicians.

Napolitno said that Monti is “gifted, competent, and experienced.”

"Italy must be an element of strength and not weakness within the European Union, that we helped found and in which we should be protagonists," Monti said, in light of the announcement. "We will aim at solving the financial situation, resume the path of growth.”

"[We want to build] a future of dignity and hope for our children."

Silvio Berlusconi, who resigned yesterday, has been a controversial figure in Italian politics over recent years, and the more recent debt crisis overwhelming the eurozone seems to have been the final straw. Earlier in the week he had promised to resign as soon as Italian MPs approved fresh austerity measures.

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Saturday saw huge crowds gather to jeer Berlusconi as a convoy he was traveling in passed by on his way to announcing his resignation. The boos and name-calling seemed to affect the former Italian leader, as he avoided the crowds following his announcement; leaving by a side door.

The Italian austerity package will save 59.8 billion euros from spending cuts and tax rises. The goal of the measures is to balance the Italian budget books by 2014.

Included in the austerity measures was an increase in VAT, from 20 percent to 21 percent, as well as a gradual rise in the retirement age for women in the private sector from 60 in 2014 until it reaches 65 in 2026, the same age as for men.

Berlusconi was Italy's longest-serving post-war prime minister, but has been the most scandal-hit as well.

He has been involved in several trials for fraud and corruption. Recently he was also engulfed in a scandal for allegations of having sex with an under-age girl.

 

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