Italian culture minister Giuliano Urbani has announced that he will name the Venice Biennale's new board of directors and president before January 6th - although it now looks increasingly unlikely that either Biennale president Franco Bernabe' or artistic director Moritz de Hadeln will be reappointed to helm the next Venice Film Festival.

"It is my obligation to rebuild the Biennale's board of directors, and I must do it so that it can be as efficient as possible," Urbani said, adding that new names will be announced before January 6th, a national holiday which marks the end of the Italian festive season.

The Biennale's current board of directors was due to meet on Monday to reconfirm De Hadeln's position.

However, the meeting was cancelled following Urbani's decision to push through Parliament a reform of the Biennale's statute.

As a result of his new decree, Urbani must now name a new board of directors who will in turn appoint a new director for the Venice Film Festival.

Urbani's unwillingness in recent days to meet De Hadeln has given even greater weight to the widespread belief that the Swiss director will not be reappointed to helm the next Venice Film Festival.

Italian press reports have also suggested it is now unlikely that Bernabe' will be reappointed.

During the weekend, Urbani thanked Bernabe' for "his great sense of responsibility and sense of service towards Italy" adding that he "will soon announce the names of the "best president for the Biennale and the best government representative."

"That leaves little hope that he will reappoint Bernabe," national daily La Repubblica suggested.

In the meantime, Italian industry members continued to express their concern over political interference in the Venice Film Festival.

"Urbani's reform of the Biennale will transfer the organization's autonomy into the hands of politicians, with the terrible risk of placing it behind bars," said Italian director Aurelio Grimaldi.

Rai Cinema president and film director Giuliano Montaldo said he was sorry that "there is such a song and dance surrounding our greatest and most loved Italian event."

"It just makes it even more difficult to manage the festival," he said, rejecting reports that his name could be in the running to replace De Hadeln.