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Italy taps General Figliuolo to oversee recovery of Emilia-Romagna

Army general previously served as emergency covid chief.

The Italian cabinet on Tuesday named General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo as extraordinary commissioner tasked with overseeing the reconstruction of the northern Emilia Romagna region after it was devastated by floods last month.

The appointment of Figliuolo, 61, comes six weeks after the floods left at least 15 people dead and caused billions of euro in damage to property, infrastructure and farmland in Emilia-Romagna as well as parts of Marche and Tuscany.

An extraordinary commissioner - typically appointed following a natural disaster - is granted special powers to cut through red tape and implement measures to get urgent works underway faster.

Figliuolo, an army general and logistics expert, served as Italy's emergency coronavirus commissioner from 2021 to 2022, leading the country's covid vaccination programme.

According to Italian media, the right-wing government of Giorgia Meloni was allegedly against appointing Emilia-Romagna governor Stefano Bonaccini to the role of commissioner, despite his knowledge of the region, as he belongs to the opposition centre-left Partito Democratico party.

Writing on Twitter on Tuesday night, Bonaccini criticised the government's choice but expressed his appreciation for Figliuolo's work during the covid pandemic.

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