Skip to main content

Youthful Matteo Renzi sworn in as Italy's Prime Minister

By Laura Smith-Spark and Hada Messia, CNN
updated 12:55 PM EST, Sat February 22, 2014
Matteo Renzi rings a silver bell, marking the start of his office, before the start of his first cabinet meeting on Saturday.
Matteo Renzi rings a silver bell, marking the start of his office, before the start of his first cabinet meeting on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: He's sworn in alongside his Cabinet of 16 ministers
  • NEW: He holds his first Cabinet meeting with his new government
  • The former mayor of Florence and Democratic Party leader is a youthful 39 years old
  • He replaces Enrico Letta, who held the top job for less than a year

Rome (CNN) -- Matteo Renzi was sworn in Saturday as Italy's youngest Prime Minister, alongside his new Cabinet of 16 ministers.

It's a step many hope will bring much-needed political stability to the country.

The former Florence mayor, who won control of the Democratic Party in a primary a couple of months ago, ousted fellow party member Enrico Letta in a party vote last week.

Renzi, 39, is nicknamed il Rottomatore -- or "the demolition man" -- for his pugnacious style of politics.

After the swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace, he headed to the Italian Prime Minister's office, the Palazzo Chigi, to hold his first cabinet meeting.

The lineup for Renzi's new government was published on his website Friday.

Italy's new Finance Minister is Pier Carlo Padoan, currently deputy secretary-general and chief economist of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD.)

Serving Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, of the Nouvo Centro Destra party, keeps his job in the new government.

Half of Renzi's ministers are women, the largest proportion in Italian history. Most of the ministers are young by Italian standards, with an average age of 48.

Renzi is expected to outline his new policies Monday in the Senate, where he will face a confidence vote.

History of political turmoil

Letta held on to the top job in Italian politics for less than a year.

He was sworn in last April at the head of a coalition government formed after months of uncertainty following inconclusive elections. But he was forced out last week amid frustration over the slow pace of reform.

Italy, the third largest economy in the eurozone, has had more than its share of political turmoil over recent years.

The last election to produce a leader was in 2008, when Silvio Berlusconi became Prime Minister for a third time. Since then, all the country's leaders have been appointed.

Berlusconi, a billionaire tycoon who has dominated Italian politics for two decades, resigned in late 2011 after coming under pressure for Italy's economic woes. He was subsequently expelled from parliament after his conviction for tax fraud and can no longer run for office.

READ MORE: Is Matteo Renzi ready to be Italy's PM?

WATCH MORE: The future of Europe's economy

CNN's Hada Messia reported from Rome and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. CNN's Nina Dos Santos contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 6:36 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
A 9-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor at a shooting range, according to Arizona authorities.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
updated 2:44 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
updated 4:15 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
updated 5:57 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
The mother of a hostage freed after two years captivity says it's not time to party.
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 2:00 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
"I just love it when I get milk-to-dark converts," says Kerrin Rousset, before she leads a small cocoa-hungry crowd through Zurich's Old Town.
ADVERTISEMENT