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Italy's Populist Government Approved In Final Parliamentary Hurdle

Thu, 7th Jun 2018 07:38

ROME (Alliance News) - Italy's populist coalition government cleared its final parliamentary hurdle on Wednesday, ending months of post-election deadlock but setting the scene for political and economic uncertainty in the heavily indebted EU country.

Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, voted by 350 to 236 in support of the new coalition government between the anti-immigrant League party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), led by political newcomer Giuseppe Conte.

Thirty-five lawmakers abstained in the vote.

The coalition was inaugurated on Friday after nearly three months of gridlock.

Hours before Wednesday's vote, Prime Minister Conte vowed that Italy would be listened to and respected at the upcoming Group of Seven summit in Canada this weekend.

"The first position of Italy will be to make itself known, and the second will be to make itself respected," Conte was quoted by ANSA news agency as saying.

Conte has said his government's top priorities include ending illegal immigration, resetting relations with European partners and strengthening ties with Russia.

The populists' 18-member cabinet is a mixture of party politicians and technocrats, five of whom are women. League leader Matteo Salvini has been sworn in as interior minister, while M5S chief Luigi Di Maio took the post of labour minister.

The M5S-League coalition's government programme has planned additional expenditures that include the introduction of tax cuts and a basic guaranteed income - despite Italy having one of the highest levels of public debt in the world.

The parties' economic programme and their hostility towards the EU and the eurozone have caused jitters in markets and among world leaders.

Conte will make his debut on the world political stage at the G7 summit in Le Malbaie, north-east of Quebec City, on Friday and Saturday, where tensions over global trade are expected to dominate the agenda.

The Italian opposition criticized Conte on Wednesday for having not yet taken a position on the US' protectionist stance, which has seen import duties slapped on steel and aluminium from the EU and other major trade partners.

By Lena Klimkeit, dpa

Copyright dpa

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