Monti is Rome’s new emperor

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Berlusconi cartoon

Former eurocrat Mario Monti formed a new Italian government without a single politician today, drawing from the ranks of bankers, Vatican historians and business executives.

The former European Union competition commissioner grabbed a good handful of personal power as well, installing himself as Italy’s economy minister as well as premier.

Monti and his new cabinet ministers were sworn in late today, formally ending Silvio Berlusconi’s government.

Monti said he would lay out his emergency anti-crisis policies in the Senate today, prior to a confidence vote.

The death of democracy in Italy seemed to please speculators.

The yield on the country’s 10-year bonds dropped 0.16 percentage points to 6.77 per cent.

Up until this summer Italy had avoided the European debt turmoil, but speculators lost faith in the Berlusconi government after frequent backtracking on austerity measures.

Monti gave few hints about his political programme, sidestepping a question about whether the government would dip into citizens’ bank accounts as it had done decades ago during another debt crisis.

Explaining why his Cabinet contained no-one from Italy’s fractious political parties, Monti said that his talks with party leaders led him to the conclusion “that the non-presence of politicians in the government would help it.”

His ministers include Corrado Passera, CEO of Italy’s second-largest bank Intesa Sanpaolo, utility company Enel chairman Piero Gnudi and current Italian ambassador to Washington Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata.

Passera also sits on the board of directors of Milan’s Bocconi University, which forms Italy’s business elite. Monti is currently the head of the Bocconi.

A Catholic church historian with close ties to the Vatican, Andrea Riccardi, was also named as a minister

His choices raised some eyebrows.

“This government, with its ties to banks, to business, to the Vatican, to private universities – to the usual names – is the opposite of what this country needs,” said Paolo Ferrero of Rifondazione Comunista.

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