Italy's New PM Wins Confidence Vote, Urges ‘Radical Change’
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi won a crucial confidence vote in parliament early on Tuesday, pledging to cut labour taxes, free up funds for investment in schools and pass wide institutional reforms to tackle Italy’s economic malaise.
The senate voted 169-139 to confirm Renzi’s broad coalition, which ranges from his centre-left democrats to centre-right forces formerly loyal to ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi. Renzi needed at least 155 votes to clinch the victory, one of two mandatory confidence votes.
Facing parliament for the first time after his inauguration on Saturday, the 39-year-old – Italy’s youngest prime minister – sketched out an ambitious programme of change in an hour-long speech delivered in his trademark quick-fire style interspersed with occasional jeers from the opposition benches.
“If we lose this challenge, the fault will be mine alone,” he told the senate. The eurozone’s third-largest economy is in urgent need of potentially painful reforms and is weighed down by two trillion euros of public debt, AFP reported.
Renzi promised sound public finances, which he said was a duty Italy owed to its own children rather than to its European Union partners. But he offered little detail and did not say whether his government would seek any easing in tight EU budget limits as he has suggested in the past.
“He’s put together a very radical list of reforms but we’re yet to see how he concretely proposes to follow through on them,” FRANCE 24’s Seema Gupta reported from Rome. “Many wonder whether he will be able to considering there are going to be similar political obstacles as there were with his predecessors.”
The new premier promised to make it cheaper for companies to take on staff by reducing payroll taxes in the first half of the year with a double-digit cut in the so-called tax wedge, which is the difference between what it costs a company to employ a worker and the worker’s take-home pay.
He said the measure would be financed by spending cuts and other measures and said the government would evaluate increasing tax on financial income to pay for a wider labour shake-up.
On Sunday, Renzi’s chief of staff, Graziano Delrio, caused a stir by suggesting the government was considering raising taxes on government bonds, which are popular with Italian savers.