Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (R) hands over the cabinet minister bell to Italy's newly-appointed Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the handover ceremony at Chigi Palace in Rome, capital of Italy, on Dec. 12, 2016. Italy's newly-appointed Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni announced the formation of a new cabinet on Monday. (Xinhua/Jin Yu)
ROME, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Italy's newly-appointed Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni announced the formation of a new cabinet on Monday.
He handed in his list of 18 new ministers to Italian President Sergio Mattarella late afternoon on Monday, thus drawing to a swift close to the government crisis set off by the resignation of former prime minister Matteo Renzi on Dec. 7.
Renzi stepped down after losing a key constitutional referendum, and, on Sunday, 62-year-old Gentiloni was asked by Mattarella to replace him and form a new government.
The newly-appointed prime minister went through a quick round of consultations with parliamentary groups until Monday morning, before presenting the new team.
"I did my best to form the government in the shortest possible time in order to answer the call of the president, and to safeguard the stability of our institutions," Gentiloni told a press conference.
As announced, he moved within the framework of the previous center-left government's majority in parliament, since all opposition forces were not available to take part in the new cabinet.
Most key figures were confirmed in their office, including Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti, Justice Minister Andrea Orlando, Labor Minister Giuliano Poletti, and Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda.
Angelino Alfano -- outgoing interior minister -- has been named as foreign affairs minister, which was Gentiloni's previous office.
He will be replaced at the interior ministry by Marco Minniti from the center-left Democratic Party (PD), the largest force in the parliament and party to which Gentiloni and Renzi both belong.
The visible continuity with outgoing Renzi's center-left cabinet was meant to be a reassuring message for international and European observers, and for financial markets.
"As it is clear, the government will continue with the innovative action so far carried out by the cabinet led by Matteo Renzi," Gentiloni acknowledged.
"At the same time, it will strive to facilitate the parliamentary forces' task of identifying new rules for the electoral law."
Changing, or amending, the electoral system would in fact be a priority over the next months, in order to allow the country to eventually face early elections. Currently, two different laws govern the election of the Senate and the Lower House of parliament, and the president has stressed they need to be "harmonized."
The legislature term ends in February 2018. Yet, all opposition forces have been pressing for snap elections since the cabinet-backed constitutional reform was rejected in the referendum, and a general vote might be called as early as spring 2017.
The new cabinet was to be sworn in at the president's Quirinal Palace at 8:00 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) on Monday.
Then, it will ask for a confidence vote in both the senate and the lower house.