Monti's new Italian government to be named
ROME (AP) — Officials from Italy's presidency were expected to announced Wednesday that Premier-designate Mario Monti has succeeded in creating a government with enough backing to enact reforms to save the country from financial disaster.
Close associates of Silvio Berlusconi, who resigned as premier on Saturday, have promised that his party — Parliament's largest — will give full support to Monti, a former European Union competition commissioner.
Monti met into the early hours of Wednesday with Angelino Alfano, the secretary of Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, to smooth over tensions. Outgoing Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told Rome daily Il Messaggero that backing from both Berlusconi and Alfano ensures Monti the "full commitment" of their party.
Hopes for a new administration won Italy some respite in financial markets on Wednesday. The yield on its ten-year bonds dropped 0.16 percentage point to 6.77 percent.
Restoring confidence in Italy's financial future is crucial because it would be too expensive for the eurozone to rescue. A debt default by Rome would threaten the euro itself and shake the global economy.
The parties that have pledged absolute support for Monti to keep Italy from going down the disastrous path of debt-plagued Greece voiced optimism.
A Monti government is "an historic and significant turn of events," said Francesco Rutelli, a leader of a small, centrist grouping, who said his forces will give the economist "carte blanche."
"We're not asking anything from him, but we're asking the big parties to give him strength" to carry out the reforms, Rutelli said on Sky TG24 TV.
Rutelli predicted Monti's government would win a confidence vote on Thursday in the Senate and go on to last until the end of the legislature in spring 2013.
"I hope so," Rutelli said, because "the economic crisis won't be solved in a brief time."
He claimed Italians were behind Monti, noting the popularity of an anagram of Mario Monti's name — "rimontiamo," which in Italian means "let's make a comeback."