Gentiloni government wins confidence in Italian parliament

Task to complete reforms, take care of “excluded middle class”, Gentiloni says.

The new government of Paolo Gentiloni won the confidence of the senate on Wednesday, completing the process of taking office.

The executive formed in record time following the resignation of former prime minister Matteo Renzi carried the vote in the upper house with 169 votes in favour and 99 against. The right-wing and euro-skeptical Lega Nord did not take part in the vote and nor did the centre-right Alleanza Liberalpopolare-Autonomie (ALA) led by former Silvio Berlusconi stalwart Denis Verdini. ALA controversially propped up Renzi’s government over several key reforms and had made support of the new executive conditional upon getting sufficient representation in the cabinet.

On Tuesday the former foreign minister Gentiloni obtained a confidence vote in the chamber of deputies with 368 votes in favour and 105 against.

Addressing the senate prior to Wednesday’s vote, Gentiloni said his task was to complete the reforms started by his predecessor.

"This is not a government (taking office) at the start of the parliamentary term, but one that, above all, must complete the exceptional work of reform, innovation and modernization carried out in the last few years," Gentiloni said.

He also said his executive would take care of the “excluded middle classes.

"There is extraordinary progress (within western society) but there are also some losers, and it is up to those who believe in this process and are in love with open societies without walls and borders, to take on the issue of those who are stricken," Gentiloni said.

Another key job of the new government would be to “facilitate” the process of drawing up new election rules, but without taking “centre stage” in the debate, he told the senate.

Gentiloni’s first appointment as Italy’s new premier is to attend a European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday 15 December, where the issue of migration to Europe will be high on the agenda.

On Tuesday Gentiloni told the chamber of deputies his government would continue to push for a revision of the EU's Dublin Regulation governing the asylum process to take the pressure off countries of first arrival like Italy and Greece.

It must be very clear that the Italian position does not lack respect for anyone. We aren't party poopers, but we can't take on migrant flows for the whole of the EU either," Gentiloni told parliament.