Italian new govt wins vote of confidence in Senate
Updated: 2014-02-25 10:28
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi talks during a confidence vote at the Senate in Rome February 24, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
ROME -- The Italian new government won the vote of confidence in the Senate early Tuesday, after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pledged to work for radical and immediate changes to revive the country's recession-gripped economy.
The Renzi government, which was sworn in on Saturday, won the support of the upper house by a vote of 169 to 139. Such a vote is set to take place in the lower chamber on Tuesday.
Renzi's center-left Democratic Party, the largest group in parliament, formed the ruling coalition with the New Center Right led by Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, a former ally of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The Civil Choice, founded by former Prime Minister Mario Monti, also supported the new government.
The opposition parties, including Berlusconi's center-right Forza Italia, said the Renzi government was supported by the same left-right, fragile coalition of the previous one led by Enrico Letta, which failed to introduce promised changes.Italy has gone through four prime ministers in four years.
The new government will work wholeheartedly on reforms before Italy takes the EU's rotating presidency for the second half of this year, Renzi pledged in his first parliamentary speech earlier in the day.
"If we lose this challenge, it will be my fault entirely, there will be no excuse," said 39-year-old Renzi, the youngest-ever prime minister in Italy.
Among the economic and institutional objectives of his agenda, Renzi promised to reduce income and labor taxes, pay all public debts and make credit accessible to small and medium-sized companies.
Parliamentary reforms included reducing the number of lawmakers, stripping the Senate of its law-making power, introducing a much-needed new electoral law and simplifying the ineffective justice system.
Renzi, self-portrayed as "hugely ambitious," was asked days ago by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to form a new government after he called to oust Letta, whom Renzi said had been ineffective in tackling the economic crisis.
Renzi's 16-minister cabinet, having five fewer members than Letta's, is the youngest in the Italian history and half composed of women.