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Italy’s new Web-savvy PM tweets first day on the job

  • Italy's new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (C), answers journalists outside the San Giovanni Gualberto's church in Pontassieve on February 23, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / GIANNI ATTALMI)

ROME: Matteo Renzi took to Twitter on his government’s first day Sunday to respond to questions in a sign of changing times under Italy’s youngest prime minister.

The 39-year-old Renzi, who was sworn in Saturday and faces confidence votes in parliament this week, promised a “surprise” on the digital economy and said he would try to “cut taxes.”

“This is my strongest responsibility: an Italy of opportunity, not rent-seeking,” he told one follower who asked him not to “disappoint the young people of your age ... you have given hope to.”

Renzi is a Web-savvy politician who has promised rapid reforms to get the economy moving after two years of recession that have raised unemployment to record highs.

He has 850,000 followers on a Twitter account that Sunday still referred to him as “mayor of Florence and general secretary of the PD” – the ruling center-left Democratic Party.

Renzi said he was at home with close aide Graziano Delrio, another former mayor of Reggio Emilia in central Italy who holds the key post of secretary of state in the Cabinet.

Renzi has maintained a very public presence on Twitter during his rise to power, often responding personally to queries.

As journalists waited impatiently for him to formally accept the nomination from President Giorgio Napolitano Friday, Renzi tweeted: “I’m coming, I’m coming.”

Just before the swearing-in ceremony Saturday, he thanked his followers for their messages of support and added: “The task is difficult but we are Italy, we will manage. Our commitment: to be ourselves; a free and simple people.”

But he promised this week to continue with his “#matteorisponde” (Matteo replies) – an exchange that he began during his campaign for the party leadership.

 
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Summary

Matteo Renzi took to Twitter on his government's first day Sunday to respond to questions in a sign of changing times under Italy's youngest prime minister.

Renzi said he was at home with close aide Graziano Delrio, another former mayor of Reggio Emilia in central Italy who holds the key post of secretary of state in the Cabinet.

Renzi has maintained a very public presence on Twitter during his rise to power, often responding personally to queries.


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