Paolo Gentiloni, Italy’s foreign minister, was set to replace Matteo Renzi as prime minister, amid signs of a quick solution to the political crisis that has convulsed the eurozone’s third-largest economy over the past week.
After three days of consultations with parliamentary leaders of all stripes, Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s president, on Sunday summoned Mr Gentiloni to the presidential palace in central Rome for a meeting at 12.30pm local time in which he was widely expected to tap him to form a government.
Late on Saturday, Mr Mattarella had emphasized his desire to pick a new prime minister quickly, saying in a statement that Italy needed a “fully functional government within a short timeframe” in order to meet its domestic, European and international commitments.
“In the coming hours I will evaluate what has emerged from these discussions and will take the necessary initiatives for the solution of the government crisis,” Mr Mattarella told reporters.
According to two senior Italian officials, Mr Gentiloni was the clear frontrunner for the job of prime minister. Meanwhile, Mr Renzi ruled out being reappointed to the position — which had been floated in recent days.
“I have resigned. Seriously. I didn’t fake it. I said I would, and I did,” Mr Renzi wrote on his Facebook page. “To whoever follows me, I leave my best wishes and all my support,” he added.