ITALY NEWS

Berlusconi IV

Novices join seasoned MPs in new government
(issue no. 79/2008 / May 15, 2008)

Media mogul and new premier of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, formed his new government in record timing. Berlusconi broke with protocol and made history by promptly handing Italian president Giorgio Napolitano with a list of ministers who will be in his new government. The list of MPs was immediately accepted by Napolitano.

 

Italy's newest cabinet is composed of 12 full ministers and nine others without portfolio-four less than the outgoing center-left government of Romano Prodi. It is the 66th since the fall of Fascism and the 60th since Italy was proclaimed a republic after WWII.

 

Fresh faces and long-time Berlusconi loyalists included in the Berlusconi's newest cabinet of ministers are Franco Frattini (Forza Italia) for Foreign Affairs, Giulio Tremonti (FI) for Economy, Roberto Maroni (Lega Nord) for Internal Affairs, Angelino Alfano (FI) for Justice, Ignazio La Russa (Allianza Nazionale) for Defense, Claudio Scajola (FI) for Industry, Maurizio Sacconi (FI) for Welfare, Luca Zaia Ambiente (L) for Agriculture, Stefania Prestigiacomo (FI) for Environment, Altero Matteoli (AN) for Public Works, Maria Stella Gelmini (FI) for Education, Sandro Bondi (FI) for Culture. Ministers without portfolios are: Umberto Bossi (L) for Reform, Renato Brunetta (FI) for Civil Service, Elio Vito (FI) for Relations with parliament, Roberto Calderoli (L) for Semplification, Raffaele Fitto (FI) for Regional Affairs, Andrea Ronchi (AN) for European Union Affairs, Mara Carfagna (FI) for Equal Opportunities, Gianfranco Rotondi (DCA) for Government Programme, Giorgia Meloni (AN) for Youth Policy, Gianni Letta as Cabinet Secretary.

 

Berlusconi's fourth cabinet of ministers was sworn in on May 8, 2008 and formally seated in the House the next afternoon. Berlusconi kept his electoral promise of having women in the cabinet, including former Miss Italia and TV showgirl Mara Carfagna, who is the new Equal opportunities minister, and Youth Policy minister Giorgia Meloni, the youngest minister ever at 31. Berlusconi's first major cabinet meeting will be held in Naples to find solutions to the months-long rubbish emergency in the southern Italian region of Campania.

 

In addition, former Alleanza Nazionale leader Gianfranco Fini was elected speaker of Italy's lower house of parliament, with 335 of the 611 votes. Meanwhile, the centre-right candidate running for Rome mayor, Gianni Alemanno, overtook the capital with a surprise victory over former Rome mayor and prominent centre-left candidate, Francesco Rutelli. The 50-year-old conservative leader won 53.6 percent of votes against Rutelli's 46.4 percent.

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