Italy’s Meloni easily wins vote of confidence


Italy’s new far-right government led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday night easily won the first of two required votes of confidence in Parliament by a comfortable margin.

The House of Commons votes were 235 in favor of her coalition government and 154 against, while five abstained. The coalition needs at least 195 votes to get a majority.

On Wednesday, the new government will face a vote in the upper house, the Senate, where it also holds a solid majority. Votes of confidence are required by the Constitution for new governments.

Earlier, in the Boardroom on Tuesday, Meloni laid out the government’s policy goals, hitting back at critics at home and abroad who fear that her far-right politics could undermine her. the unification of Europe or the civil rights of Italian citizens.

She criticized the European Union for not always being ready for the challenges, especially the acute energy crisis that now threatens households and businesses.

But she pledged that her four-day-old coalition government, made up of right-wing and centre-right allies, would stay true to EU accords and push for reforms, including money rules. bad.

“Asking these questions is not about being an enemy or a heretic but a realist,” Meloni said in a 70-minute speech.

She has countered criticism, including those from foreign governments, who have said they will be watching “vigilantly” towards Italy’s first far-right government since World War I. two ends.

Such attitudes are tantamount to “disrespect towards the Italian people, who don’t need a lesson,” Meloni said.

The prime minister’s 10-year-old Brotherhood Party was the most voted in Italy’s parliamentary elections last month, winning 26% of the vote.

She runs alongside her main allies, Anti-Migrant League leader Matteo Salvini and conservative former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

With a vote of confidence, Meloni will be able to start running the business.

Meloni, 45, expressed her amazement at becoming the first woman to run Italy and acknowledged the responsibility “for all women who face the unjust and heavy burden” of running the country. balance between family and work.

She expressed her determination to “break the heavy glass ceiling above our heads.”

Meloni recounts the names of women with great achievements in Italy, including a Communist politician, the first woman elected speaker of the House of Representatives, an astronaut and a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. .

Meloni spoke with US President Joe Biden, who congratulated her and emphasized the strong relationship between the United States and Italy. They discussed their commitment to continue providing assistance to Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for its aggression, according to the bulletin of their appeal.

In the debate that followed the prime minister’s speech, an opposition leader, Debora Serracchiani, an opposition leader, challenged Meloni to fight against “inequality and poverty, which must be addressed.” immediate intervention rather than ideological propaganda his government was born and is taking its first steps.” “

The Prime Minister confirmed her campaign commitment to support Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression. Berlusconi and Salvini have long admired Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of tough Western sanctions on Moscow.

Meloni also sought to assuage concerns among detractors that her government would repeal Italy’s abortion rights law, saying it “will never restrict citizens’ freedoms.”

To increase the birth rate of Italy, one of the lowest in the world, cities and towns should operate free daycare centers and kindergartens open during business hours and shops, she said.

“We needed a grand plan, economically but also culturally, to rediscover the beauty of parenthood and put the family back at the center of society,” Meloni said. She denounced what she called “LGBT ideology”.

Meloni has been staunchly opposed by critics, who say she doesn’t explicitly condemn fascism. Brothers of Italy, which she co-founded in 2012, has its roots in a far-right party founded by nostalgia for 20th-century dictator Benito Mussolini.

“I have never felt sympathy or closeness with any undemocratic regime, including fascism,” Meloni told lawmakers in the House of Commons. She criticized Mussolini’s 1938 apartheid law, which suppressed Italy’s small Jewish community, as “the lowest point of Italian history.”

Hundreds of migrants rescued by charity-operated ships from smugglers’ boats in the central Mediterranean in recent days are awaiting permission from authorities to disembark in Italy.

Meloni made no mention of them but reiterated a campaign committed to reviving military patrols in the Mediterranean to implement a naval blockade aimed at stopping smugglers based in North Africa, particularly in North Africa. especially Libya.

When Salvini served as Interior Minister in 2018-2019 in a populist-led coalition, he sometimes kept lifeboats waiting for weeks before they were delivered to port for passengers to disembark. ship.

At one point, Meloni apologized during a debate with an opposition lawmaker, Aboubakar Soumahoro, an Italian-Ivorian coalition leader who has fought for migrants’ rights.

The Prime Minister referred to him informally as “friend”, in a usage of the Italian language considered disrespectful. After opposition ranks protested, she apologized and said that “anyone can make a mistake.”

Meloni promised to make it easier for renewable energy projects, as well as wind farms, to win government approval.

“This government’s motto will be ‘Don’t disturb people who want to do something,'” Meloni said. She said Italy needs “less bureaucracy, less rules,” a formula she said would help. Anti-corruption.

EU rules say Italy’s total debt, which now accounts for 150% of gross domestic product, must rise to 60%. But Meloni stressed that “the path to debt relief is not past austerity” but structured economic growth.

Raf Casert in Brussels and Giada Zampano in Rome contributed reporting.

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