What's up, Europe? In Italy, a new government

Italy's new Prime Minister Enrico Letta arrives at Palazzo Chigi on April 28, 2013 in Rome, Italy.

Italy has a new government today, after months of not having one. Rome wasn't built in a day, after all.

The leaders that emerged came in the form of a coalition force led by Enrico Letta. There is a sense of relief among regular Italians, says the BBC’s Bethany Bell in Rome.

The new prime minister will likely keep the attention of Italians for some time.

“They’ll be watching very carefully to see what this government does,” Bell says.

Why are Italians so interested? Bell points to an overwhelming cynicism in the country.

Many citizens don’t trust their government. Letta hopes to change that as part of his tenure, but changing attitudes will be a small part of how his success will be judged. 

“Whether or not this government’s got what it takes to pull it out of recession is the big question,” Bell says.

The Italian stock market is doing well on the news of his election as well. But Bell says the country has huge problems and a good day in the markets won’t change that.

There’s huge unemployment and it’s difficult for business to do business -- Bell points to the high bankruptcy rates as well. Letta has said he hopes to move the country away from austerity and lists jobs as his number one priority -- unemployment is especially high among Italian youth.

“If Mr. Letta does succeed in getting through some of these reforms and in keeping this government together," Bell says, "that will be a huge achievement.”

If not, more chaos will follow.

About the author

Bethany Bell is a reporter for the BBC.

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