Italian new government wins vote of confidence

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Italian new government wins vote of confidenceRome: 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 Saturday, won the support of the upper house by a vote of 169 to 139, reported Xinhua.

A similar vote is set to take place in the lower chamber 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.

In his first speech earlier in the Senate to ask to vote confidence, Renzi said the new government will work on reforms before Italy takes the EU’s rotating presidency for the second half of this year.

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“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.

The government investment and loan fund would be used to repay all public debts to businesses which are “mired in a stifling bureaucracy”, Renzi said adding that the system in which senior public officials have management jobs for life must cease.

Not only Italy was struggling to exit a dramatic recession that has eroded nine percentage points of its economy and has led unemployment to 12.6 percent, but its political class has destroyed the confidence of citizens who love their country, he noted.

It was unacceptable, Renzi added, that international investors were reluctant to invest in a country that is the hometown of creativity and innovation and whose cultural heritage make it a “global superpower”.

Another central initiative, he stressed, will be “irreversible double-digit reductions” of labour and income taxes to tackle unemployment and revive the economy. Meanwhile, guarantee funds will be implemented to make credit accessible to small and medium-sized companies.

He promised parliamentary reforms, including 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 systems.

He finally pledged to speed and simplify by the end of June the Italian slow-moving justice system.

Renzi 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 of the members are woman.