Monti forms new Italian govt with no politicians

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Mori Monti
Rome, Nov 16: Premier Mario Monti formed a new Italian government without a single politician on Wednesday, drawing from the ranks of bankers, diplomats and business executives to create a team to steer Italy away from financial disaster.

The 68-year-old former European Union competition commissioner told reporters he will serve as Italy's economy minister as well as its premier as he seeks "sacrifices" from across the political spectrum to solve the economy's woes and get it growing again.

Monti and his new Cabinet ministers were sworn in at a solemn ceremony at the presidential palace, formally ending Silvio Berlusconi's 3 1/2-year-old government and the media mogul's 17-year-long political dominance. Monti said he will lay out his emergency plan tomorrow in the Senate before a confidence vote.

A second vote, in the lower Chamber of Deputies, will follow, likely on Friday. He stressed that economic growth is a top priority. Hopes for his new administration won Italy some respite in financial markets today.

The yield on its 10-year bonds dropped 0.16 percentage point to 6.77 per cent. In the last week, that borrowing rate had flirted over 7 per cent -- the level that forced fellow eurozone members Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek international bailouts. Up until summer, Italy had mostly avoided the European debt turmoil despite having a jaw-dropping debt of USD 2.6 trillion, nearly 120 per cent of its GDP.

But after Berlusconi's frequent delays and backtracking on austerity and reform measures, markets lost faith that his government could fix Italy's economic issues. 

AP

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