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Italy's Mario Draghi sworn in as Prime Minister, taking the reins of a country in crisis

The Italian president swore in Mario Draghi, the former chief of the European Central Bank, as prime minister on Saturday (13) at the head of a unity government called on to confront the Covid-19 crisis and a persistent economic slump.

The 73-year-old, known as Super Mario for doing "whatever it takes" to save the eurozone, has put together a national unity government involving almost all Italy's political parties.

"Break a leg," read the headline on La Stampa daily Saturday, hours ahead of Draghi and his new cabinet being sworn in under rainy skies in Rome, as a new survey showed the former banker had the support of 62 percent of Italians.

Draghi was parachuted in by President Sergio Mattarella after the previous centre-left coalition under premier Giuseppe Conte collapsed, leaving Italy rudderless at a critical time.

Italy is battling the pandemic that hit one year ago, leaving more than 93,000 people dead and triggering the country's deepest recession since World War II.

Draghi has spent the last 10 days assembling a broad-based coalition and on Friday night formally accepted the post of prime minister in a meeting with Mattarella.

He spoke only to read out a list of his cabinet -- a mix of technocrats, veteran politicians and existing ministers, a third of them women -- but returned at noon Saturday to be formally sworn in at the presidential palace.

Draghi will be presented to the upper-house Senate on Wednesday followed by the chamber of deputies on Thursday for a confidence vote that will give the final official blessing to his government.

(France 24)

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