By Associated Press
Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni has won a second vote of confidence in Parliament, paving the way for his new government to lead Italy until it holds a new election.
The Senate voted 169-99 Wednesday in favor a day after the confidence measure easily passed Parliament’s lower chamber.
Gentiloni now heads to the first major international meeting of his premiership — Thursday’s European Council summit in Brussels — with Parliament’s backing and his government in place.
Gentiloni, who served as foreign minister in former Premier Matteo Renzi’s Democratic administration, has said his priorities are to spur economic growth in Italy’s south, rebuild Italy’s earthquake-devastated central section, and help lawmakers craft a new electoral law.
Opposition parties have clamored for an early election, but the current law has one set of rules for the Senate and another for the lower Chamber of Deputies.
Gentiloni told lawmakers that Thursday in Brussels he would press Italy’s demands for more assistance from Europe to settle or repatriate the tens of thousands of migrants coming ashore from Libyan-based smuggling operations.
Maurizio Gasparri of the center-right Forza Italia party said Gentiloni was missing the point.
“The problem isn’t that Europe isn’t helping us,” Gasparri told the Senate before the vote. “Stop bringing 5,000 migrants a day into Italy.”
Other opposition parties, including the anti-EU Northern League and the populist 5-Star Movement, had criticized Gentiloni’s decision to reappoint nearly all of the ministers of Renzi’s cabinet. They said that ignored the results of the Dec. 4 referendum in which the majority of Italians voted against Renzi and his reforms.