Feb. 17 - Italians are hoping the country's dynamic prime minister designate Renzi will be a saviour, not a failure. But as Joanna Partridge reports he may have jumped in too early.
On his way to becoming Italy's youngest-ever prime minister. The 39-year-old Mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, has been given a mandate by the president, and will now attempt to form a new government. SOUNDBITE: Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister designate, saying (Italian): "The sense of urgency is extraordinarily delicate and important but it's also true that, given the timescale we've set of a full parliamentary term, we'll need a few days before formally accepting the mandate." Renzi helped oust his Democratic Party rival Enrico Letta, frustrated at the slow pace of reform. If he can build a coalition, he'll be the third prime minister in a row to come to power without being elected. The euro zone's third-largest economy is technically out of recession, it returned to growth in the final quarter of 2013. But it's been suffering its most severe slump since the Second World War and has 2 trillion euros of public debt. The markets seem to like Renzi's reform pledges - but he'll have to deal with the same unwieldy coalition which failed to pass reforms under Letta, says Sarah Hewin from Standard Chartered. SOUNDBITE: Sarah Hewin, Head of Research - Europe, Standard Chartered, saying (English): "If Matteo Renzi can actually press ahead with these reforms, then the market would take this very well. The big question is how much can he actually achieve, given that other governments have struggled to make headway in the Italian parliamentary process." Renzi needs to seal a formal coalition deal with the small centre-right NCD party to secure a majority. He'll then name his cabinet before seeking a formal vote of confidence in parliament, expected later in the week. Some analysts suggest Renzi should have bidded his time for a little longer before ousting Letta. Alessandra Galloni is Reuters' Southern Europe Editor. SOUNDBITE: Alessandra Galloni, Southern Europe Editor, Reuters, saying (English): "The manner in which this was done came rather as a surprise. Everybody had expected Renzi to get to the premiership and in fact he had been agitating for change in Italian politics for quite a while, but few expected that he would do it so dramatically." Renzi's making big promises - swift action to create jobs, reduce taxes and cut back bureaucracy - but he hasn't made specific policy proposals. And even a man who wants to move quickly may struggle with a slow system.