Renzi’s reform boosted by confidence vote

Renzi's reform boosted by confidence vote
Matteo Renzi became prime minister last month. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi won a confidence vote on Wednesday called to force the Senate to push through a cost-cutting bill aimed at wiping out the country's provincial governments.

The upper house of parliament voted in favour of Renzi's latest attempt to cut out waste and revive the eurozone's third largest economy.

The premier, who came to power last month, had rushed the vote in an attempt to uphold a promise to the Italians to implement a series of fast-paced reforms.

The 39-year-old, whose centre-left and right coalition only boasts a small majority in the upper house, won comfortably with 160 senators voting in favour of the bill compared to 133 against.

Eliminating the provincial governments is "a question of reducing costs" which "should revive our fellow citizens' hope and trust" in Rome's ability to reverse the negative effects of a two-year recession, Renzi had said before the vote.

"Reducing political costs is a prerequisite for being able to hand back €80 to citizens," he said, referring to a promise that 10 million Italians would see their monthly pay packets boosted by that amount.

Renzi, who took power after engineering an internal party coup against former premier Enrico Letta, outlined a mini-stimulus package earlier this month involving €10 billion worth of tax cuts for the poorest families, €3.5 billion of investment in school buildings and a ten percent reduction in a payroll tax paid by employers.

He also pledged that the state will clear €68 billion worth of unpaid bills to private suppliers by the end of the summer.

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