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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Italy swears in Prodi government
Romano Prodi
This is Mr Prodi's second time as prime minister
Romano Prodi has been sworn in as Italian prime minister, five weeks after his centre-left coalition won the general election by a slim majority.

His cabinet includes a number of ex-prime ministers, including Massimo D'Alema, who will be foreign minister.

It is exactly 10 years since Mr Prodi was first sworn in prime minister.

A vote of confidence in the new government, which replaces Silvio Berlusconi's coalition, will be held in parliament at a later date.

Mr Prodi's coalition narrowly defeated his centre-right rival in the April election, five years after Mr Berlusconi came to power.

Correspondents predict Mr Prodi will face a tough time with a majority of just two seats in the Senate.

KEY CABINET POSTS
Prime Minister: Romano Prodi
Foreign: Massimo D'Alema
Culture: Francesco Rutelli
Economy: Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa
Interior: Giuliano Amato
Justice: Clemente Mastella
Defence: Arturo Parisi
Labour: Cesare Damiano
Education: Giuseppe Fioroni
Agriculture: Paolo De Castro
Health: Livia Turco
Environment: Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio
Transport: Alessandro Bianchi
Mr Prodi's mandate to govern was delayed by the election of a new president.

The cabinet was sworn in at Rome's presidential palace by President Giorgio Napolitano. The event was broadcast live by Italian state TV Rai.

Announcing his line-up earlier in the day, Mr Prodi told reporters his coalition cabinet was a "team, not a collection of individuals".

"The government team is very united and much more compact than any previous description led to believe," he said.

Timing

Mr Prodi also commented on the timing of his appointment to prime minister for a second time.

"It is rather bizarre being appointed 10 years after the very day when I was appointed prime minister for the first time," he said.

"Much has changed, I was prime minister for two-and-a-half years and head of the European Commission for five-and-a-half years. So, I have had much experience."

Mr D'Alema, who belongs to the biggest party in the coalition, will hold one of two deputy prime ministerial posts as well as the foreign affairs portfolio.

The other deputy prime minister post goes Francesco Rutelli, who will also be culture minister.

Tommaso Padoa Schioppa, a former European Central Bank executive board member, is the new economy minister and former Socialist Prime Minister Giuliano Amato becomes interior minister.

The defeated Mr Berlusconi says his conservative coalition "will be ready to profit, democratically, from the weakness" of Mr Prodi's government.


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