Italy Inaugurates Youngest Prime Minister Ever

Matteo Renzi was sworn in Saturday. He had long fought with former prime minister Enrico Letta for control of their center left political party.
Posted at 1:04 PM, Feb 22, 2014

Italy has a new prime minister, again. And this one is the youngest in the country's history.

Thirty-nine-year-old Matteo Renzi was sworn in Saturday. The BBC reports Renzi has never worked in national government but gained notoriety as the mayor of Florence.

Time calls Renzi the "Italian Obama" and adds he's the country's third prime minister in just the last year. Renzi's predecessor, Enrico Letta, resigned last week after just 10 months in office.

Businessweek adds Renzi is a member of the center-left Democratic party, the same as Letta. The two had been locked in a power struggle for months.

Renzi is the country's third appointed prime minister since scandal-plagued Silvio Berlusconi resigned in 2011, and he's hoping to accomplish more than his predecessors.

The Wall Street Journal notes Renzi is widely seen as a reformer, determined to get Italy out of its long-term economic slump. Renzi also gained popularity as a political "outsider."

Italy has been in the midst of painful economic problems for several years. Bloomberg reports unemployment still sits at around 13 percent — more than five years after the global financial crisis began. Youth unemployment is higher than 40 percent.

Of course, along with the new prime minister comes a new cabinet — and another sign of change.

CNN points out half of Renzi's cabinet is made up of women which it says is the largest number of Italian women at that level in history. His cabinet of 16 is also considered the youngest ever, with the group's average age at 48. 

Renzi says he hopes to stay on in his new role as prime minister until at least 2018. Renzi and his cabinet are expected to face a vote of confidence Monday.