ROME (dpa) – Italy’s new president, Sergio Mat-tarella, called for political reforms and collec-tive efforts to beat a record-length recession in his inauguration speech Tuesday.
Mattarella, 73, was elected for a seven-year mandate by national and regional lawmakers on Saturday. He replaces the 89-year-old Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned January 14 due to old age.
“I swear to be loyal to the Republic and to loyally observe the Constitution,” the former constitutional judge and one-time Christian Democrat minister said at a swearing-in cere-mony in parliament.
In his speech, Mattarella said Italy’s slump, which started in mid-2011, had “protracted itself beyond all limits”, fuelling injustice, poverty, social exclusion and solitude, even threate-ning national unity. “It is essential for budget consolidation to be combined with a strong growth initiative, to be formulated first of all at a European level,” the president said.