Italy's Unelected Prime Minister Monti Unveils Cabinet Line Up Devoid Of Any Elected Politicians
Mario Monti, the former European Commissioner, formally took over the reins of the Italian Government today and unveiled a cabinet line up of 16 ministers including three women. But there are no elected politicians in the cabinet.
The aim of the government is to push through the austerity measures that were approved by the Italian Parliament in the dying hours of the Berlusconi government and is expected to command support in both houses of the Parliament.
Defending his decision not to include politicians in his government, the new Prime Minister said: “"I reached the conclusion during the consultations that the absence of political personalities in the government will help rather than hinder a solid base of support for the government in parliament and in the political parties because it will remove one ground for disagreement,"
The cabinet is made up of the academics and professionals who are little known beyond their own circles. The key job of Minister for Infrastructure and Economic Development goes to Corrado Passera, the chief executive officer of Italy’s biggest bank, Intesa SanPaolo while Italy’s current Ambassador to Washington Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata assumes the role of the Foreign Minister.
Paola Severino, a lawyer becomes the new Justice Minister who would have jurisdiction over all the Berlusconi sex and corruption trials. Aside from Severino two other women joined the Monti Cabinet. Anna Maria Cancellieri was appointed the interior minister. While the Prime Minister himself retained the economy and finance portfolio.
The new government received widespread support especially from its patrons in Berlin and Brussels but the markets were not that convinced especially because of the lack of democratic legitimacy of this government. The bond yields did not go down from the perilous 7% mark until the ECB intervened.
Although there are no politicians in the cabinet, there were some voices reminding Mr. Monti that he serves at the pleasure of the political party. There are questions on how far the political support for this government would last.
For example, would the largest elected party led by Silvio Berlusconi support the government if It pursues the former Prime Minister through the courts. Or for example, what happens if Italians come down to the streets protesting against the austerity measures. The Berlusconi government had to deal with one of the worst riots that was instigated by tough austerity measures.
And the measures that would have to be implemented by the Monti government is far worse and many in Italy are already questioning its right to do so. It seems the politicians would back the Monti government in the confidence vote coming up but they would only let this government stay in office long enough just to push through the tough reforms.
There is little or chance of Mr. Monti serving as Prime Minister until 2013 elections as he wants. "I hope that this government of technocrats succeeds in addressing all the requests made by the European Central Bank," outgoing Industry Minister Paolo Romani, from Berlusconi's PDL party, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper. "But let it be clear that as soon as that is done, we expect Monti to give the people the chance to choose a government."