Italy’s new PM vows to bring radical change

Italy’s new PM vows to bring radical change

Italy’s new PM vows to bring radical change

Italy’s new prime minister has promised to bring radical change to the country, including more generous welfare and a crackdown on immigration, as the two party bosses who hold the keys to his anti-establishment government nodded their approval.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte addressed the Senate, flanked by the leaders of two formerly fringe parties that shoved aside mainstream groups at an election in March to form a coalition with little-known law expert Conte as its head.

“The truth is that we have created a radical change and we’re proud of it,” Conte said in his maiden speech to parliament, delivered in the upper house Senate, before winning a vote of confidence for his policy program.

The government, backed by the 5-Star Movement, founded nine years ago as a grass-roots protest group, and the right-wing League, won the vote by 171-117 in the 320-seat Senate.

The coalition has a larger majority in the lower house, which is due to vote on Wednesday. It will then be fully empowered.

Conte, 53, spoke as 5-Star leader Luigi di Maio and League chief Matteo Salvini sat beside him, nodding their approval as the urbane law professor ticked off all the main elements of a policy agenda the party leaders had finalized days before.

Di Maio is labor and industry minister in Conte’s government and Salvini is interior minister.

Their presence has raised doubts about whether Conte, a political novice, can put his own stamp on the government’s agenda.