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Italy's prime minister says new government will bicker less

Italy's prime minister says new government will bicker less
FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte rings the bell for the new cabinet's first meeting at Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ciro de Luca -
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CIRO DE LUCA(Reuters)
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ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday his new coalition, which combines the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and pro-Europe Democratic Party (PD), would do more and bicker less.

In a speech to parliament before a vote of confidence in his administration, Conte called for less conflictual relations with the European Union, reiterated that he would work with Brussels to reform the bloc’s budget rules and its immigration laws.

The 5-Star and PD agreed to join forces after the far-right League walked out of the previous coalition with 5-Star in a failed effort to trigger early elections. Their previous coalition was marked by constant bickering.

“We cannot in the coming months waste our time with disputes and clashes,” Conte told the lower house. “We must be sober in our words and active in our deeds.”

Conte, a law professor with no political affiliation, added: “The language of this government will be mild-mannered because we understand that our actions will not be judged by the arrogance of our words.”

The prime minister has previously accused his former ally, League leader Matteo Salvini, of indulging in sterile polemics and denounced his decision to quit the previous coalition as reckless.

As Conte was speaking, Salvini joined hundreds of far-right supporters in front of parliament. The protesters waved Italian flags and accused 5-Star and PD of perverting democracy by forming a coalition rather than accepting early elections.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante and Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Timothy Heritage)

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