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Italy's Renzi says on track to form government

Italian center-left leader Matteo Renzi is close to naming the members of his government, with OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan confirmed to the key economy ministry portfolio, sources close to the negotiations said on Friday.

Renzi is expected to meet President Giorgio Napolitano later Friday to confirm his cabinet list, allowing the government to be sworn in by the weekend, ahead of a confidence vote in parliament expected on Monday.

(Read more: Doubts over Renzi's' ambitious' reforms for Italy)

Vittorio Zunino Celotto | Getty Images

Padoan, who has been at the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development since 2007, confirmed he had been selected to the key post as economy and finance minister.

(Read More: Italy's Matteo Renzi to begin coalition talks)

Padoan, a respected former International Monetary Fund official, will be the third technocrat in a row at the ministry, the key contact point with the European Central Bank and European Union partners and an important factor in maintaining foreign investor confidence.

Renzi, who forced out his party rival Enrico Letta last week after attacking the slow pace of economic reforms, is expected to govern with the same cross-party alliance as his predecessor but has not yet sealed a formal coalition accord.

Renzi has sketched out an ambitious agenda, promising to tackle electoral and constitutional reform, make the labour market and tax systems more efficient and overhaul the bloated public administration all within four months.

On Friday, ratings agency DBRS said the reforms would be positive for Italy as long as the "ambitious timetable" was respected.

However, as well as having to deal with the same unwieldy coalition which hampered Letta, Renzi will also face questions about how he gained office, which could limit his ability to push through unpopular reform measures.

At 39, he would be Italy's youngest-ever prime minister, but he would also be the third in a row to gain office without winning an election and opinion polls suggest many Italians are concerned about the lack of a mandate from voters.

Angelino Alfano, head of the small center-right NCD party which Renzi will depend on for a majority, is expected to keep his post as interior minister but will no longer have the title deputy prime minister after Renzi ruled out giving him a post that could challenge his own authority.

(Read More: Renzi set to become Italy's youngest prime minister)

The NCD is also expected to hold on to the transport and health ministries, both of which it held under Letta.

As head of the OECD's economics department, Padoan has called for aggressive easing from the European Central Bank and was an early critic of tough budget cutbacks in the euro zone's weakest economies as they struggled with excessive debt.

A poll on Friday by the SWG polling institute posted a dip in support for the PD, to 29.9 percent from 32.2 percent a week earlier, while support for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia rose to 21.8 percent from 20 percent.

The survey showed 27 percent saw Renzi as a leader capable of giving a future to Italy, more than any other potential rival on the list but still outscored by the 30 percent who picked "none".

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