New government needed urgently
Italy's president promised yesterday he'll decide "in the next hours" about who to tap as the next premier, saying the country needs a new government as soon as possible to tackle problems, like troubled banks and quake-struck towns needing reconstruction.
Matteo Renzi has been staying on as a caretaker premier following his resignation December 7 after voters rejected his government-backed reforms, ending his nearly three-year centre-left coalition.
"Our country needs, in the briefest of times, a government in the fullness of its functions," Italian President Sergio Mattarella told reporters.
He was sympathetic to a chorus of calls from the populist opposition 5-Star Movement and others, including from Renzi's own Democrats, for a reform of Italy's complicated electoral laws so Italians can vote for their own leader.
Mattarella stressed any new government must oversee a reform of Italy's electoral law before a new national election is held.
He also cited concerns about the thousands left homeless by a series of quakes in central Italy this year and how reconstruction projects must move ahead.
Also looming is whether the Italian government might have to bail out the troubled Italian bank Monti dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), which direly needs to raise new capital.