Italy's PM wins first confidence vote in parliament

Conte will work with Brussels on changing the EU's budget rules

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on Monday won the first of two mandatory confidence votes on his new coalition of rival parties, news wires reported. Conte's second government is based on the alliance between the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD). They made a pact after League leader and former interior minister Matteo Salvini pulled the plug on Conte's first government last month.

The 343-263 vote in the lower Chamber of Deputies, with three lawmakers abstaining, was the preamble to Tuesday’s vote in the Senate. The vote in the upper chamber promises to be tighter, since the coalition holds only a handful votes more than needed for a simple majority.

Presenting his programme, Conte told the Lower House that his new government is seeking to bring in a "new season of reform. He said that the "challenge on the domestic front" is to "broaden the participation in the world of work of segments of the population who have so far been excluded". "These (segments) are concentrated, above all, among young people and women, especially in southern Italy," he said. Conte pledges that the new government will bring in tax cuts that will benefit workers as well as averting a hike in value added tax that is set to kick in next year unless alternative budget coverage can be found. He also stressed that the State should make life difficult for tax evaders, with prison terms for big tax dodgers. Conte also vowed to cut MP numbers from 945 to 600, bring in a new election law, change controversial security and migrant decrees and try to change the EU's stability and growth pact.

Italian premier promises that under his new government the country will be the lead player of a phase of renewal of the European Union. "Italy will be the protagonist of a phase of renewal of the Union that aims to build a more supportive, inclusive Europe that is closer to citizens, more aware of environmental sustainability and social and territorial cohesion", the premier told MPs.

Conte also said it is "necessary to improve the Stability and Growth Pact and its implementation to simplify rules, avoid procyclical effects and support investments, starting with those connected to environmental and social sustainability". "A procyclical budget policy, in fact, risks nullifying the important efforts made on the domestic front to relaunch the country's potential growth, reducing effective growth", the premier said. EU institutions and internal cohesion need to be "strengthened", he went on to say.

Speaking in Parliament the premier was loudly contested by the far-right League and Brothers of Italy (FdI) parties.

Similar articles