By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has nominated former EU commissioner Mario Monti to form a new government after a full day of party meetings aimed at stabilizing a shaky political and financial situation in the .
The choice of Monti, a 68-year-old economist and former European competition commissioner who famously took on Microsoft in a major antitrust battle, to head up a government of technocrats looks like an effort to reassure markets and eurozone partners doubtful that Italy can tackle its current economic woes.
EU leaders welcomed the decision as a move to beat the crisis. European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and European Union President Herman van Rompuy said Napolitano’s selection of Monti “sends a further encouraging signal…of the Italian authorities’ determination to overcome the current crisis”
Media magnate Silvio Berlusconi quit as prime minister on November 12, after three spells that made him Italy’s longest-serving postwar prime minister despite years dogged by allegation of criminal and sexual impropriety, as well as numerous scandals over loose remarks. He had dominated Italian politics for nearly two decades.
But deadlock in the face of mounting public debt and following the fall of another similarly shaky government in Greece clearly brought huge domestic and international pressure on Italy to look to new leadership.
A spokesman for President Napolitano told reporters that “Senator Mario Monti was given the task of forming the government.”
The composition of the government should be decided in the next few days.
There will then be a confidence vote in parliament for the new cabinet to officially take control.