Gentiloni, Paolo (Italy)
Paolo Gentiloni became prime minister on 12 Dec. 2016, following the resignation of Matteo Renzi (who had in turn succeeded Enrico Letta in Feb. 2014). A former journalist, Gentiloni entered national politics in 2001 and served in several subsequent centre-left coalitions. However, following elections in March 2018 that resulted in a hung parliament and advances by anti-establishment populist parties, Gentiloni assumed a caretaker role as premier.
Paolo Gentiloni was born in Rome on 22 Nov. 1954. After graduating in political science from the Sapienza University of Rome, he worked in journalism, including as editor of an Italian environmental magazine. In 1993 he became a spokesman for the Federation of Greens.
Gentiloni entered parliament at the 2001 general election, representing the centre-left ‘The Daisy’ list. Then, as a founding member of Democracy is Freedom–The Daisy in 2002, he served as the party’s communications spokesman for the next 5 years. Re-elected in 2006, he was part of the Olive Tree coalition led by Romano Prodi. He served as minister for communications for 2 years and was a founding committee member of the Democratic Party (PD), which was formed in 2007 from the merger of the Democrats of the Left and The Daisy.
Gentiloni retained his seat in the 2008 election and served in opposition to a centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi. Again re-elected in 2013, he was part of the ‘Italy. Common Good’ centre-left coalition. The new premier and leader of the PD, Matteo Renzi, appointed Gentiloni minister of foreign affairs in Oct. 2014.
Shortly after Renzi resigned in Dec. 2016, Gentiloni was asked by President Sergio Mattarella to form a new government and was sworn in as prime minister.
Gentiloni’s challenges included stabilizing the banking sector against the backdrop of Italy’s huge public debt level and countering illegal immigration from North Africa across the Mediterranean Sea. However, he also faced a growing electoral threat from populist movements that heralded the downfall of his government following the March 2018 legislative elections. After a 3 month political deadlock that followed the elections, the League and the Five Star Movement managed to form a coalition government under Giuseppe Conte. On 1 June 2018 Conte was confirmed by President Sergio Mattarella and replaced Gentiloni as prime minister.