Italian press pin hopes on Monti

Newly appointed Prime Minister Mario Monti Newly appointed Prime Minister Mario Monti

Italy's papers reflect the high hopes invested in the country's new Prime Minister, Mario Monti, who was appointed by President Giorgio Napolitano on Sunday and is now working to form a government to guide Italy through its acute financial crisis.

Several papers pick up on comments made by Mr Monti shortly after his appointment, in which he said Italy had to redeem itself in order to regain the confidence of the rest of Europe.

Both the leading centre-left paper La Repubblica and the conservative daily Il Messaggero run front-page headlines quoting Mr Monti's pledge that Italy will redeem itself.

A front-page editorial in La Repubblica by the paper's editor-in-chief, Ezio Mauro, is confident that Mr Napolitano has found the right man for the job. In Mr Mauro's eyes, the country now has a "government of redemption and fairness" that will "lead Italy out of crisis and regain the confidence of the markets, of Europe and of the Italian people".

La Repubblica's editor says that this task has been entrusted to a man "who is above the political fray, and whose competence is recognised by the whole of Europe".

Mr Mauro senses that Italian politics will take a more responsible turn after the flamboyance of the Berlusconi era. He says that the meeting between Mr Napolitano and Mr Monti at the presidential palace was characterised by "a lack of smiles, lots of anxiety, but also the conviction that Italy can do it" and adds that this marks a positive turning-point in the country's political culture.

Credibility

The leading business daily Il Sole 24 Ore also sees the main challenge facing Mr Monti as restoring the confidence of the rest of the world in Italy. The paper believes that his reputation as a leading economics expert will be an asset to him in this task, but that this in itself will not be enough.

"It is now up to Mario Monti and his governing team to restore the confidence of the world in Italy," the paper's editorial notes.

"In order to do this, the international credibility of the man in charge will be a big help, but actions, not words, are needed in order to retain this confidence long-term."

The top-selling daily Corriere della Sera picks up on Mr Monti's remarks that for economic reforms to gain the support of the Italian people, growth must go hand in hand with fairness.

"The greater the fairness, the more acceptable these reforms will be to the Italian people," a front-page commentary notes.

The Turin-based centrist paper La Stampa also runs Mr Monti's words "growth and fairness" as a front-page banner headline.

However, a front-page commentary in La Stampa warns against investing too much hope in one person, saying that Italians must accept collective responsibility for the state of their economy.

The commentary, by Irene Tinagli, urges Italians not to allow their sense of euphoria over the appointment of Mr Monti to blind them to the fact that the country will continue to fall into one crisis after another "if each time we continue to believe that we can resolve everything by handing over all responsibility or power of salvation to particular individuals."

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