Profile: Enrico Letta
Enrico Letta, a 46-year-old centrist, has agreed to head Italy's next government, a broad-based coalition drawn from both the centre-left and the centre-right.
A Europhile on the moderate side of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), he started his political career with the centre-right Christian Democrat party that dominated Italian politics in the post-war era.
His uncle is Gianni Letta, chief political fixer of former centre-right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Indeed, the younger Letta spent two hours with Mr Berlusconi, shortly before heading to the president's residence, the Quirinale, to discuss the make-up of his government.
Although the former prime minister is not himself part of the new government, the presence of one of his closest allies, Angelino Alfano, is seen as evidence of the new PM's bridge-building abilities.
In a country distinguished by its ageing political class, Enrico Letta's political rise has been rapid.
He has already served in three centre-left governments and will now become the third youngest Italian prime minister in history, after Giovanni Goria in 1987 and Amintore Fanfani in the 1950s.
He has come to the fore unexpectedly at a time of extreme political turbulence.
Former PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani resigned after failing to form a centre-left coalition following a weak performance in February's elections, and then proving unable to push through his chosen candidate for the presidency.
With no clear way forward, Mr Napolitano was re-elected for an unprecedented second seven-year term at the age of 87.'Italians fed up'
Announcing the formation of his government, Mr Letta said he was satisfied with the record number of women selected and the younger profile of his team.
"My big task will be to make sure that from this affair we can get a different Italian politics with institutional reforms," Mr Letta said earlier.
- Former youth member of a centre-right party
- Currently deputy head of the centre-left Democratic Party
- In 1998, became youngest government minister in Italy's history at age of 32
- Has held several ministerial posts
- Uncle is an aide to former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
He is known to be keen to reform the parliamentary system, reduce the number of deputies, and to change electoral law in order to make politics more stable.
Of his putative government, he said: "It will be a government at the service of the country, the aim including that of bringing morals to the country's public life, which needs new nourishment."
"I will give my all for it because Italians are fed up with these little political games."
Born in Pisa in 1966, Mr Letta undertook a doctorate in European Community law before heading the European youth wing of the centre-right Christian Democrats from 1991-1995.
After Mr Berlusconi entered politics in 1994, the Christian Democrats split. Mr Letta sided with a new centre-left coalition headed by Romano Prodi.
He worked in the finance ministry as Italy prepared to join the euro, before being named minister for European Affairs in 1998 at the age of 32 - the youngest cabinet minister in Italy's post-war history.
He later served as industry minister and as minister for foreign trade before the centre-left lost power in 2001.
From 2006-2008 he was cabinet secretary in Mr Prodi's government, a position his uncle was given in the centre-right government that followed.
In 2007 he challenged front-runner Walter Veltroni in primaries for the leadership for the newly formed PD, winning just 11% of the votes - but gaining the chance to start building his own political base. He became deputy leader of the PD in 2009.
According to his biography on the PD website he supports AC Milan, the football club of which Mr Berlusconi is president. He is married with three children.
Mr Letta is a well-established member of the political establishment.
But the fact that he drove himself to the presidential palace in his own Fiat car to accept the prime ministerial mandate was seen by some as a statement against the extensive privileges - including chauffeur-driven cars and motorcades - that have caused growing resentment against Italy's politicians.