New Italy PM Renzi promises rapid reforms

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New Italy PM Renzi promises rapid reforms

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Italy’s youngest prime minister has won his first confidence vote in parliament, pledging to implement urgent reforms and heal the country’s finances.

Matteo Renzi won the vote in the Senate by a comfortable margin of 30 – 169 for and 139 against.

He is promising to cut employment taxes, clear public debts, invest in schools and overhaul the electoral system and constitution.

The eurozone’s third-largest economy has a two-trillion-euro public debt.

“Do you think it’s still possible to trick Italians? Saying ‘we will act, we will act’, and then ‘put off, put off, put off’…?” Renzi asked the chamber in typically colloquial style, in a reference to the slow pace of reform of previous governments.

Renzi was backed by his own centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the centre-right NCD, centrists and other minor groups – a similar support base as that of his ousted predecessor Enrico Letta.

The Senate vote will be followed by a ballot in the lower house where the Democratic Party has a strong majority.

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement will be keeping a watchful eye.

“We will see… the most relevant issue is that he did not mention how he’s going to fund all his beautiful dreams,” said senator Maria Mussini.

For now there’s a conciliatory tone from the opposition Forza Italia party.

“We told Renzi that the innovation he wants to introduce in politics is very important, and we can share in some way this kind of innovation. We are a loyal, responsible and constructive opposition,” said senator Paolo Romani.