Italy's new government passes first confidence vote

Italy's new government passes first confidence vote

Italy's government bonds sold off on Tuesday, facing renewed pressure after new Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte promised to bring radical change as he sought parliamentary backing for an anti-establishment government.

Giuseppe Conte's government, made up of a coalition of far-right and euroskeptic parties, was sworn in on Friday after nearly three months of political turmoil that alarmed European Union officials and spooked financial markets.

The senate then voted to confirm Conte's government, with 171 votes in favour, 117 against and 25 abstentions.

"The speech shows there are no signs that any of their proposals will be watered down", said Antoine Bouvet, an interest-rates strategist with Japanese bank Mizuho.

Italian government bond yields were higher on the day, with 10-year yields rising 2.5 basis points to 2.58 percent, but were still close to fortnightly lows hit Monday and well below last week's high of 3.388 percent.

Both former premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party - a campaign ally of the League - and the outgoing centre-left Democratic Party have said they will not vote in favour of the new government.

In his 72-minute speech, Conte said priorities would include tackling social hardship through the introduction of a universal income - a 5-Star election promise - and to stem an influx of illegal immigrants, a pivotal policy of the League.

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However, Conte made no reference to one of the most costly of the coalition's pledges: abolishing a 2011 pension reform that raised the retirement age. Economists estimate the coalition's policy agenda would add tens of billions of euros to annual spending.

He also told senators: "We want to reduce our public debt, but we want to do so with growth and not with austerity measures".

Mr. Conte mostly avoided foreign affairs, other than to talk up the sanctity of Italy's relationship with the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, before adding: "Mind you!"

Parliament, an older model of representative democracy, "will also help us", he said.

However, Giuseppe Conti, the prime minister, said his government has no intention to leave the Eurozone but called for a redistribution of asylum seekers around the EU.

Tuesday, Il Giornale reported the beginning of a "Salvini-Orbán axis" following a telephone call between Lega interior minister Matteo Salvini and Hungarian premier Viktor Orbán in which the pair pledged to "change Europe together".

Once the parliamentary votes are over, Conte will leave for his first global summit, a G7 meeting in Canada that starts on Friday.

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