Prime minister of Italy
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In Italy, the President of the Council of Ministers (Italian: Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri) is the country's prime minister or head of government, and occupies the fourth-most important state office. The Presidency of the Council is a constitutional office, established by the Italian constitution by articles 92, 93, 94, 95, and 96. The President of the Council is appointed by the President of the Italian Republic, the head of state. The current Prime minister of Italy is Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission, and leader of the center-left coalition.
 Official title
The title of Italy's head of government is referred to in Italian as the Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri. Literally translated this means "President of the Council of Ministers". However because prime minister is the more usual title for a head of government in English speaking nations he is often referred to by English speakers as the 'Prime Minister of Italy'. However the Italian for prime minister is primo ministro. Thus, for example, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is known in Italian as the Primo Ministro del Regno Unito, not the Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri.
The french/english word Premier is getting more and more used lately, both by the press and in informal occasions, though not being an official style of the head of government.
Besides those functions granted him as a member of the government, the prime minister indicates to the President of the Republic the list of government ministers, and countersigns all acts having the force of law that have been signed by the President of the Republic.
Article 95 of the Italian constitution specifies that "the President of the Council of Ministers directs and coordinates the activity of the ministers"; this power has been used to a quite variable extent in the history of the Italian state, as it is strongly influenced by the strength of the individual ministers and thus by the parties they represent.
Often the prime minister's activity consists more in mediating between the various parties in the majority coalition, rather than directing the activity of the Council of Ministers. His power of address, moreover, is limited, in that, at least formally, he does not have the authority to fire those ministers with whom he finds himself in disagreement. The practice of rimpasto, or the rarer individual vote of no confidence on the part of Parliament, may be considered surrogates for this formally absent power.
The rise of a new mode of politics, which according to some is ever more linked to the mediating skills of politicians, and the largely majoritarian electoral laws, have, in practice, given the President of the Council a greater power to make decisions and to direct the internal dynamics of the government, which represents a notable novelty for the Italian political system.
 See also
- This article was translated from the equivalent article in Italian Wikipedia, retrieved 16 April 2006.