April 18, 2014
Italy Renzi wins final confidence vote
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi won a final parliamentary vote of confidence today after pledging to slash red tape and "revolutionise" the economy.
The Chamber of Deputies approved the confidence motion by the comfortable margin of 378 in favour to 220 against, fully empowering the coalition of Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) with the New Centre Right party, centrists and other small groups.
Renzi had been expected to win the vote easily due to the PD's lower house majority.
In his maiden address to the lower house ahead of the vote, Renzi said "Italy's finest page has yet to be written," in a speech that produced many of his trademark rhetorical flourishes but few specific policy commitments.
The 39-year-old Renzi, Italy's youngest prime minister, said radical steps were needed to revive an economy that has barely grown for the past 15 years and restore citizens' confidence in politics.
He promised to overhaul the tax system by "a gigantic operation of simplification", and to cut unemployment well above 12 percent with "the courage to revolutionise the economic and legal system of our country".
Renzi delivered his 50-minute speech in his usual colloquial style, which differs sharply from that of his predecessors. There was little applause even from his parliamentary majority.
Deputies from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement sent out tweets during the speech saying it was devoid of substance.
The outgoing mayor of Florence and leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) ousted his predecessor as prime minister Enrico Letta this month by withdrawing the PD's support from his government.