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Italy poised to gain new government

Enrico Letta's acceptance of the leadership role is expected to limit the uncertainty that has gripped the nation since February.

Story highlights

  • Enrico Letta is to be sworn in as prime minister Sunday
  • Parliament is expected to confirm his government on Monday
  • The announcement is expected to end the uncertainty that has gripped Italy for months

Italian center-left politician Enrico Letta has fully accepted a mandate to form a government, he told reporters Saturday.

Letta made the announcement after meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano, who had given him that mandate on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old former deputy prime minister and his ministers will be sworn in on Sunday at 11:30 a.m., the presidential palace said.

Parliament is expected to confirm his government through a vote of confidence on Monday.

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Letta's acceptance of the leadership role is expected to limit the uncertainty that has gripped the nation since February, when elections left none of the candidates with enough support to form a government.

He gave reporters a list of his 18 ministers, two of whom are members of the center-right People of Freedom Party led by three-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Three of the ministers are holdovers from the government of Mario Monti, the outgoing prime minister.

Nearly all the others are members of Letta's Democratic Party or people close to it.

Letta had accepted Napolitano's request to take the job with reservations

Napolitano, 87, was re-elected by Italy's Parliament on Saturday to an unprecedented second term as president.

February's general election resulted in a three-way split among the right, the left and a wild-card party.

Letta said this week that the most important step would be to tackle the country's 11.6% unemployment rate, which has pushed many young Italians to leave the country.

The second most pressing issue facing Italy is the need for political reform, he said.

Constitutional changes are needed to reduce the number of members of parliament and fix an electoral system that has kept the country locked in a political stalemate it can't afford, he said.

"We need to do this together with the largest participation possible," he said.

He also said the European Union's policy of austerity needs to change.