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Italian Prime Minister wins initial vote of confidence


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Italian Prime Minister wins initial vote of confidence



Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has won an initial vote of confidence in the lower house of parliament.

The 62-year-old needs to win votes of confidence in both houses of parliament. He easily won the first in the lower chamber by 368 to 105.

However, many opposition lawmakers did not take part in the ballot.

They are angry that Gentiloni has re-appointed almost all the ministers who serve under Renzi.

Foreign minister in the previous government, Gentiloni has defended his decision to bring most of his old colleagues with him into the new cabinet, saying he had to act quickly to prevent instability.

They include Renzi’s two closest allies, Maria Elena Boschi and Luca Lotti.




What happens now?



Gentiloni faces a more difficult vote in the upper house or Senate on Wednesday.

His majority here is likely to be much smaller following a decision by a former Renzi ally not to support the new administration.

He is likely to scrape through.

However, the limited support underscores the low expectations for this government.

Many are predicting national elections in the first half of 2017, a year ahead of schedule.



Maiden speech



Making his maiden speech to parliament in his new role, the softly-spoken Gentiloni says he is prepared to support Italy’s ailing banks.

He demanded more help from the EU in coping with the influx of migrants.

“I want to say very clearly that the government is ready to intervene in order to guarantee the stability of banks and the savings of our citizens,” Gentiloni told the Chamber of Deputies.


In Tuesday’s speech, Gentiloni said he would continue Renzi’s battles with the EU.

This means pushing for more flexible fiscal rules and more cooperation in sharing out the thousands of migrants who land on Italy’s shores from Africa and the Middle East.

Pledging “a very clear position” at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Gentiloni said it was “not acceptable” that the EU is “too severe on some aspects of austerity and too tolerant with countries that don’t show common responsibility on immigration.”



What the opposition say



The main opposition parties, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing Northern League, have both promised street demonstrations in the coming weeks.

They have denounced the new executive as a “photocopy”.

“They are digging their grave with their own hands,” said Luigi Di Maio, a 5-Star deputy widely expected to be the party’s candidate for prime minister at the next election.




Matteo Renzi



Gentiloni has taken over from former premier Matteo Renzi.

Renzi resigned last week after Italians rejected his proposed reform of the constitution in a referendum.




Italy’s looming banking crisis



Italy’s biggest lender, the Monte dei Paschi di Siena, is pressing on with efforst to tap the market for five billion euros of fresh cash.

However, its chances of success appear slim. Watchers say the state is likely to have to step in.

A failure of what is the world’s oldest bank would threaten the savings of thousands of Italians.

it could also have repercussions for Italy’s wider banking sector.

This is saddled with 360 billion euros of bad loans, a third of the eurozone’s total.




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