Key ministers in Italy’s new government

Shoaib Ur Rehman September 5, 2019

ROME: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday unveiled Italy’s new government, a coalition of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and centre-left Democratic Party (PD).

Conte, who remains at the helm after 14 months at the head of the outgoing populist government, presented 21 new ministers to be sworn in on Thursday.

Here are brief profiles of the principle players:

 

– Economy Minister –

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Roberto Gualtieri from the PD has been given the finance post in the eurozone’s third-largest economy.

He is the first politician to be hold the ministry since the fall of the Silvio Berlusconi government in 2011.

The 53-year old, a former history professor at Rome’s Sapienza University, has chaired the European Parliament’s committee on economic and monetary affairs for the past five years and is very familiar with the Brussels scene.

He closely followed the euro crisis in 2015 and has called for an easing of the European Stability Pact rules.

Gualtieri’s first task will be dealing with Italy’s most pressing issue — the upcoming budget.

 

– Foreign Minister –

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Luigi Di Maio, 33, won this trophy post after failing to persuade Conte to let him stay on as deputy prime minister.

The head of the M5S was key to launching his party of well-intentioned amateurs into a mainstream political force, but saw his authority wane during the Movement’s alliance with Matteo Salvini’s far-right League.

As well as the co-deputy PM post, which he shared with Salvini, Di Maio also held the industry and labour minister portfolio and pushed for Italy’s involvement in China’s contested Belt and Road Initiative.

He has said he will focus particularly on Africa, the hot-button migration issue, and Italy’s rapport with emerging economies.

 

– Interior Minister –

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Luciana Lamorgese is the only minister not affiliated with a political party. A lawyer by training, she has spent much of her career in the interior ministry, serving as Milan security chief from 2017-2018.

The 66-year old, who has previously held the chief of staff post for interior ministers on both the centre-right and centre-left, takes the job vacated by strongman Salvini, whose attempts to curb immigration became his obsession.

Larmorgese will be expected to soften her predecessor’s policies, but the government may be wary of watering down too much Salvini’s hardline stance against charity rescue ships, which won him a huge following.

 

– Defence Minister –

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Lorenzo Guerini, 52, is a loyal supporter of former prime minister and ex-PD chief Matteo Renzi.

Friends and critics alike describe the former head of the parliamentary intelligence services oversight committee COPASIR as a talented mediator.

He will be expected to build on Italy’s internationally-valued strengths in peacekeeping and civilian-military engagement.

Under the outgoing populist coalition the defence minister also played a role in deliberating whether to ban charity rescue vessels carrying saved migrants from entering national waters.

 

– Culture Minister –

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Dario Franceschini, 60, is a leading figure in the PD. As culture minister in the left-wing governments of Matteo Renzi and Paolo Gentiloni he modernised Italy’s museum landscape, opening up the top job to international experts.

 

– Industry Minister –

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Stefano Patuanelli, 45, is one of the Movement’s most high-profile lawmakers and he played a key role in the negotiations for the new coalition. Dossiers on his desk will include an endeavour to revive Italy’s troubled Alitalia airline.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019
 

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