Paolo Gentiloni previously served as Italy's Foreign Minister.
Paolo Gentiloni previously served as Italy's Foreign Minister.

Paolo Gentiloni was named as Italy's prime minister designate on Sunday following Matteo Renzi's resignation in the wake of a crushing referendum defeat on constitutional reform.

Gentiloni, who served as foreign minister under Renzi, was asked by President Sergio Mattarella to form a new government that will guide Italy to elections in February 2018.

A close ally of the outgoing premier, Gentiloni now has to put together his own government team ahead of a parliamentary approval vote expected on Wednesday.

"Not by choice but out of a sense of responsibility I will be forming a government based on the outgoing majority," Gentiloni said.

In a brief statement, Gentiloni said there was an "urgent need for a fully functioning government" to address a series of pressing international, economic and social issues.

Chief among those is a looming crisis in the troubled banking sector and ongoing relief efforts after a series of deadly earthquakes between August and October.

Renzi, who had been in power for two years and 10 months, resigned last week after voters overwhelmingly rejected a package of constitutional reforms on which he had staked his future.

Source: AFP