Mario Monti Becomes Italian Prime Minister

Mario Monti – Mario Monti, Italy’s prime minister-designate, speaks at a news conference Sunday. The former European Union competition commissioner will lead a new government in Italy after contagion from the region’s debt crisis led to the unraveling of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition.

President Giorgio Napolitano offered Monti the post after sounding out the country’s political parties for their support in consultations today at the Quirinale Palace in Rome.

Monti, 68, must present the names of his Cabinet ministers to Napolitano before he can be sworn in. He will then face confidence votes in both houses of parliament. Leaders of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party earlier today told Napolitano that they’ll support a new government, virtually ensuring his confirmation in parliament, which may come this week.

“If someone tries to set up a government in two hours, it ends up taking a lot longer,” Napolitano said in a nationally televised address. “How long this will take was never discussed. Monti will proceed as fast as he can while listening, evaluating and deciding whether to come here” and present his Cabinet list, the president said.

Berlusconi’s government fell apart after defections left him without a majority and the country’s 10-year bond yield surged to more than 7 percent, the level that prompted Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek EU bailouts. Monti’s priority will be to implement measures to cut the euro-region’s second-biggest debt and boost an economy where growth has lagged behind the euro-area average for more than a decade.

Monti is an economist and president of Bocconi University in Milan, the country’s top-rated business school. He’s also an adviser for Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Mario plans to tap the Bocconi staff to fill key positions in his new administration, Corriere della Sera reported, without saying where it got the information. Monti may name Guido Tabellini, 55, another Bocconi economics professor, as finance minister, Corriere said. Giuliano Amato, a former prime minister and now an adviser to Deutsche Bank AG, may be named foreign minister, the newspaper said.

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