Italy's new president, Sergio Mattarella, has taken the oath of office with a vow to fight corruption and organized crime and encourage the nation to embrace economic and electoral reform.

The new head of state, whose brother, Piersanti Mattarella, was slain while governor of Sicily by the Mafia in 1980, denounced as "alarming" the spread of the Mafia from its traditional base in the south to northern cities. Mattarella, in his speech to Parliament Tuesday, also decried pervasive corruption, which he said robs citizens of resources meant for them and upsets market rules, "penalizing the honest and the capable."

Lawmakers elected Mattarella, a constitutional court justice, on Saturday. He pledged to use his seven-year term to push for urgent economic and institutional reforms backed by Premier Matteo Renzi.