Rome: Following reformist leader Matteo Renzi`s resignation in the wake of a crushing referendum defeat, Paolo Gentiloni was named Sunday as Italy`s new PM.
Gentiloni was asked by President Sergio Mattarella to form a new centre-left government that will guide Italy to elections due by 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.
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.
Mattarella turned to Gentiloni after Opposition parties rebuffed overtures about a possible national unity government.
The President rejected opposition demands for an immediate election.
"Not by choice but out of a sense of responsibility I will be forming a government based on the outgoing majority," Gentiloni said, as per AFP.
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.
The populist Five Star Movement, which has led calls for immediate elections, said it would boycott Wednesday`s vote because the new government would have no legitimacy.
In Oct. 2014, with virtually no international experience, Gentiloni was unexpectedly handed the foreign affairs portfolio by Renzi, whom he had supported in a 2012 battle to grab the leadership of the Democratic Party.
Fast forward two years, and Renzi has once again pushed Gentiloni forward after resigning from the premiership following a clear defeat in a Dec. 4 referendum on constitutional reform.
As leader of the largest party in parliament, Renzi had a decisive say in who should replace him, and will have to keep the new administration alive. Critics say he chose the low-key Gentiloni to keep control from behind the scenes.
"A cast-iron Renzi supporter with little charisma... and above all expendable," Alessandro Di Battista, a leading light in the main opposition party, the 5-Star Movement, wrote on Facebook in reference to Gentiloni.
"He could be prime minister for a few months without endangering Renzi, who could prepare himself for a comeback," they said, as per Reuters.
(With Agency inputs)