Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi was formally sworn in as Italy’s new prime minister on Saturday, against the backdrop of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and a crippling recession.The appointment of the 73-year-old known as “Super Mario” capped weeks of political instability for the country still in the grips of the health crisis that has killed more than 93,000 people.

“I swear to be loyal to the Republic,” recited Draghi, as he stood before President Sergio Mattarella in the ornate presidential palace in a ceremony broadcast live on television Members of his new cabinet, who include technocrats, veteran politicians and ministers held over from the previous government, each took the oath of office.

Draghi was parachuted in by Mattarella after the previous centre-left coalition under premier Giuseppe Conte collapsed, leading Italy rudderless at a critical time.

After receiving the support of the largest group in parliament, the Five Star Movement, Mr Draghi now has backing across the broad political spectrum. It means he will have a large enough majority to push through his agenda. He has already named a cabinet: a senior figure in the Five Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, will stay on as foreign minister. Giancarlo Giorgetti, a senior figure in the populist far-right League party, will be industry minister. Andrea Orlando, from the centre-left Democratic Party, will be labour minister.

The government faces a confidence vote next week – a formality given its cross-party backing. An economist with experience at the highest levels of the European Union and as governor of the Bank of Italy, Mr Draghi is being seen as a safe pair of hands.

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