Italian President Sergio Mattarella said Saturday he would make a decision “in the coming hours” to solve ongoing government crisis, and give the country a new full-functioning cabinet.

Mattarella released a short statement at the end of the third day of talks with political party leaders. Italy needs a new prime minister to form a transition government, after outgoing Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned.

 Italian President Sergio Mattarella (C) gives a speech after the consultations at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, capital of Italy, on Dec. 10, 2016. Italian President Sergio Mattarella said Saturday he would make a decision “in the coming hours” to solve ongoing government crisis, and give the country a new full-functioning cabinet. [Xinhua]

Renzi’s resignation was linked to the sounding defeat of a cabinet-backed constitutional reform in a referendum held on Dec. 4.

“The country needs a full-functioning government in a short space of time: there are deadlines and commitments at domestic, European, and international level ahead of us, which have to be dealt with and respected,” Mattarella said.

His decision would be expected as early as on Monday, local media reported.

Outgoing Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni was believed to emerge as the likeliest candidate to take the prime minister post, according to Ansa news agency.

Other plausible names included Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, a respected economist whose figure might be reassuring for the market, and president of the senate and former anti-mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso.

Mattarella started consultations on Thursday, involving all the political forces in the parliament.

Renzi’s outgoing cabinet has remained in charge as caretaker until a new cabinet is formed.

Angelino Alfano (C), leader of Italy’s New Center Right (NCD) party, speaks after his consultations with Italian President Sergio Mattarella (not seen in the picture) at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, capital of Italy, on Dec. 10, 2016. Italian President Sergio Mattarella has met with major party leaders in bid to choose a new prime minister for setting up a transition government after the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Wednesday. [Xinhua]

Italy needs a swift way out of the political crisis to address pressing issues — financially troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank (Italy’s third largest), the electoral system, the reconstruction in earthquake-hit central regions, and some relevant international commitments in 2017.

Renzi’s center-left Democratic Party and some minor allies said they were ready for snap elections, but also for taking part in a “national unity government” involving all major parties.

Yet, the option was rejected by the oppositions, which were all calling for an early election.

Mattarella on Saturday restated that a change in the current electoral system was a necessary precondition to early elections.

“From these meetings has emerged, as a priority, a general need to harmonize the two laws ruling over the election of the lower house and of the senate, an indispensable condition to proceed with elections,” he said.

Any decision concerning the electoral law will have to take into consideration an upcoming ruling by Italy’s Constitutional Court on its legitimacy, which is set to take place on Jan. 24.

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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