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Alessandro Mussolini
"The people said they wanted the centre-right to govern"
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Friday, 21 April, 2000, 06:20 GMT 07:20 UK
Italy to name new premier
Amato
Giuliano Amato is likely to be Italy's new premier
Italy's President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi is expected to ask Treasury Minister Giuliano Amato to form a new government.

Mr Amato would replace the previous leader of the four-year-old coalition, Massimo D'Alema, who resigned two days ago after the coalition performed badly in last Sunday's local elections.

President Ciampi is due to wrap up two days of consultations with Italian political leaders in an effort to solve Italy's latest political crisis around midday on Friday.

The right-wing opposition, led by the media magnate, Silvio Berlusconi, argues that Sunday's election defeat has robbed the left of the authority to govern, and that early elections should be held.

Vote of confidence

But President Ciampi is expected to go for a stop-gap measure to avoid calling elections a year early.

He is due to invite Mr Amato to take the premiership on his return from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund spring meetings in Washington.

He is then likely to ask Mr Amato to seek a vote of confidence in parliament

Correspondents say the ruling coalition has enough votes to muster a majority.

If a no-confidence vote fails, President Ciampi could dissolve parliament and call a snap general election.


D'Alema
Mr D'Alema reacts after giving his resignation speech
Correspondents say that he is unlikely to do that because an early poll would block a 21 May referendum on reforms to the electoral system, which he is keen to see implemented.

Mr Amato served as Italy's premier between 1992 and 1993.

He was dubbed "Dr Subtle" for his finesse in reducing public spending. He also lived through a currency crisis, which forced him to devalue the lira.

Mr D'Alema, the first former Communist to head an Italian government, had been in office for 18 months.

He took over from Romano Prodi, who left Italian politics to become president of the European Commission in Brussels.

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See also:

20 Apr 00 | Europe
Italy seeks end to crisis
19 Apr 00 | Europe
Italian premier resigns
19 Dec 99 | Europe
Profile: Massimo D'Alema
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