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Letta named prime minister of Italy

ROME — Italian President Giorgio Napolitano nominated Enrico Letta, the deputy head of the Democratic Party, as prime minister on Wednesday, tasked with forming a government to lead the country out of weeks of political impasse after inconclusive elections.

Letta said that he would consult with the country’s leaders Thursday to discuss its ‘‘fragile and unprecedented’’ political situation.

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“We paved the way to form a government that the country urgently needs and has too long waited for,’’ Napolitano said.

Napolitano praised Letta’s cultural background, government experience, and international standing. He added there was ‘‘no alternative’’ to his candidacy.

Letta listed unemployment and the economic crisis as among the top issues that the new government should address.

Letta, 46, is considered a moderate figure capable of reuniting disparate political parties. After choosing a Cabinet, he will seek a vote of confidence in both houses of Parliament.

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