clearn.png
Wednesday September 18th, 2019 10:26PM

Italy's Conte pitches new government before Parliament votes

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte pitched lawmakers for support Monday ahead of crucial confidence votes on his 4-day-old, left-tilting coalition government while fielding insults during a boisterous Parliament session from an opposition outraged that Italy got a new government instead of a new election.

Much of the daylong session in the lower Chamber of Deputies resembled a soccer stadium with frenzied fans more than a hall of lawmakers weighing whether to confirm Italy's second government of mismatched partners in 15 months.

Practically eclipsed in the raucous atmosphere was any debate over Conte's policy promises -- a government focused on economic growth and determined to keep Europe united.

"Buffoon," and "elections, elections" were some of the milder taunts shouted from the ranks of the opposition.

In the square outside the Chamber, Matteo Salvini, the "Italians first" League party leader who brought down Conte's first government, rallied a few thousand of his right-wing supporters and far-right voters and protested that citizens were clamoring for their say at the ballot box.

"Inside, there's the regime that knows it's about to fall and is acting like Marie Antoinette," Salvini said, sarcastically likening Conte's cobbled-together coalition to the tone-deaf attitude of the French queen.

Conte launched his own barbs at Salvini, who abruptly withdrew the League as a partner in the previous government in a bid for an early election that would make him premier.

"That every year a leader can think he can bring the country to elections is irresponsible," Conte said.

The premier forged a new coalition last week out of bitter rivals, the populist 5-Star Movement that he led in a first coalition and the center-left Democratic Party. The two coalition partners' main attraction to each other appeared to be determination to keep Salvini and his anti-migrant League out of power.

The firebrand League leader incorrectly bet that would trigger an early election to hand him the premiership and what he said would be "full powers" for his anti-migrant, euroskeptic forces.

To Salvini's shock, Conte cobbled together the alternate coalition with the aid of a tiny left-wing party which has one minister in the Cabinet.

That gave Conte a fairly comfortable majority in the lower Chamber of Deputies, where the first confidence vote was being held Monday night.

But the government's margin majority in the Senate is tight. The Senate confidence vote is set for Tuesday.

If Conte loses, he must resign.

Conte vowed that his new government would solidly support a strong, united Europe and focus on getting Italy's stubbornly stagnant economy growing again.

Buoyed by a League triumph in European Parliament elections this year, Salvini stiffened an already-tough government policy on illegal immigration, with a decree that harshly enforces a ban on charity migrant rescue boats from entering Italian ports.

Conte indicated that migrant policy will be tweaked, but gave no specifics.

One lawmaker from a tiny opposition party expressed ambivalence about the new coalition, still containing populists. However, Riccardo Magi, from the More Europe party, announced reluctant support, saying the risk of an "illiberal and anti-European drift" if Conte's government falls would be worse.

Salvini and his allies have been crying foul. They contend Italians, who rewarded him in opinion polls with soaring popularity, deserved to have early elections.

"Our voice counts. They have to respect the people's voice, we must vote," said Daniela De Licio, who turned out for the rally outside Parliament from the Rome suburb of Tivoli.

Wary of yearslong bad blood between Democrats and 5-Stars, Conte called for political forces to "put aside egoism and old rancor."

With the difficult task of slashing billions of euros from the 2020 state budget looming, Conte appealed to EU leaders for flexibility in spending rules.

Conte also insisted that EU nations take their share of asylum-seekers and refugees, who are fleeing poverty as well as persecution. Opinion polls show Italians favored the crackdowns on illegal immigration led by Salvini when he was interior minister.

Harsh EU fiscal rules, coupled with a perceived lack of EU solidarity as Italy struggled to serve huge numbers of migrants who headed to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, helped boost the popularity of Salvini's "Italians First" League.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
UK's Johnson to suspend Parliament as his Brexit plans stall
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is insisting a new Brexit deal can be reached to ensure Britain leaves the European Union by the Oct. 31 deadline, acknowledging that withdrawing without one would be a "failure" for which he'd be partially to blame
12:04PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Italy's Conte pitches new government before Parliament votes
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte is pitching his new left-leaning coalition to lawmakers before crucial confidence votes
12:01PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Hilfiger joins with Zendaya for joyous '70s Harlem party
Tommy Hilfiger made his return to New York Fashion Week with a joyous Harlem street party at the famed Apollo Theater
11:54AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: UK speaker Bercow to step down
U.K. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow says he will step down by the end of next month after a decade in the job
10:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Bill blocking no-deal Brexit becomes law
A bill that would force British Prime Minister to seek a delay to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline if no deal is reached has become law with approval by Queen Elizabeth II
10:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: France readies for possibility of no-deal Brexit
France's prime minister has asked his government to be ready to handle "a certain level of disturbances" that would result from a possible no-deal Brexit.
9:33AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament til Oct. 14
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has confirmed it will suspend Parliament later Monday until Oct. 14.
6:40AM ( 5 hours ago )
Congress returns to McConnell's legislative 'graveyard'
Congress returns for the fall session with pressure mounting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to address gun violence, election security and other issues
6:27AM ( 5 hours ago )
Plan for Taliban meeting latest bold Trump gamble to unravel
Trump's weekend tweet canceling secret meetings at Camp David with the Taliban and Afghan leaders is the latest example of a president willing to take a big risk in pursuit of a foreign policy victory only to see it dashed
6:20AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Pope warns of economic 'idols' in visit to Mauritius
Pope Francis has arrived in the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius to celebrate its diversity, encourage a more ethical development and honor a 19th century French missionary who ministered to freed slaves
10:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
South African attacks on foreign shops continue; 12 dead
Two people were killed in Johannesburg, police confirmed Monday, bringing to 12 the number of deaths since the violence broke out last month
9:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
British Airways grounds nearly all flights as pilots strike
British Airways says it has had to cancel almost all its flights on Monday and Tuesday, affecting as many as 195,000 travelers, due to a strike by pilots over pay
9:05AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP World News
Red Sox part ways with baseball boss Dave Dombrowski
Red Sox split with baseball boss Dave Dombrowski less than a year after winning World Series
11:38AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Juul warned over claims e-cigarette safer than smoking
FDA warns vaping giant Juul over claims its e-cigarette is safer than smoking
11:18AM ( 53 minutes ago )
Banks, AT&T nudge US stocks broadly higher in early trading
Stocks edged higher in early trading Monday as rising bond yields lifted bank stocks and AT&T powered gains in the communications sector
10:32AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
UK's Johnson to suspend Parliament as his Brexit plans stall
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is insisting a new Brexit deal can be reached to ensure Britain leaves the European Union by the Oct. 31 deadline, acknowledging that withdrawing without one would be a "failure" for which he'd be partially to blame
12:04PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Hilfiger joins with Zendaya for joyous '70s Harlem party
Tommy Hilfiger made his return to New York Fashion Week with a joyous Harlem street party at the famed Apollo Theater
11:54AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Irish border riddle still confounds the Brexit experts
With Brexit due on Oct. 31 and a costly withdrawal without a deal a possibility, experts still do not appear to know or are not saying exactly what checks are likely at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland
11:52AM ( 19 minutes ago )
2-minute warning? NFL to speak with OBJ about wearing watch
NFL plans to speak with Browns star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. about wearing a watch during games. Flashy, fashionable wide receiver sported expensive one Sunday
11:51AM ( 21 minutes ago )
'Nola No-call' lawsuit is no more; fan drops his fight
An attorney and New Orleans Saints fan says he will go no further with his court fight against the NFL over game officials' failure to call an obvious penalty at a crucial point in a January playoff game
11:49AM ( 22 minutes ago )