Skip to main content

Italian lower house approves new government

By Hada Messia and Ben Wedeman, CNN
April 30, 2013 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: In a confidence vote, Italy's lower house confirms the new prime minister's government
  • Enrico Letta was sworn in Sunday, the same day a gunman shot officers outside his office
  • Letta has said unemployment and political reform are top priorities
  • Italy has an 11.6% unemployment rate

Rome (CNN) -- After months of political uncertainty and economic crisis, the lower house of Italy's parliament gave Prime Minister Enrico Letta's new government a vote confidence on Monday.

Letta received support from lawmakers in a 453-153 lower house vote. Lawmakers in the upper house, the Senate, are scheduled to vote on Tuesday.

Letta was sworn in on Sunday -- the same day a gunman shot and wounded two national police officers outside the prime minister's office.

But Letta was being sworn in at the presidential palace a short distance away and was not present at the time of the shooting, state-run news agency ANSA said.

Gunman opens fire in Italy

Italy has been hampered by political uncertainty since February, when elections left none of the candidates with enough support to form a government.

Letta, a center-left politician, has 18 ministers -- two of whom are members of the center-right People of Freedom Party led by three-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Nearly all the others are members of Letta's Democratic Party or people close to it.

Letta said last week that the most important priority is tackling the country's 11.6% unemployment rate, which has pushed many young Italians to leave the country.

The second most pressing issue facing Italy is the need for political reform, he said.

Constitutional changes are needed to reduce the number of members of parliament and fix an electoral system that has kept the country locked in a political stalemate it can't afford, he said.

"We need to do this together with the largest participation possible," he said.

He also said the European Union's policy of austerity needs to change.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
It was supposed to be a class trip to a resort island. Instead, the ferry capsized, turning the afternoon into a deadly nightmare.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
It's hard not to be nervous, standing outside the Ebola isolation wards.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1258 GMT (2058 HKT)
Ukraine says it's forces have regained control of an airfield from Russian separatists. Nick Paton Walsh reports.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 2116 GMT (0516 HKT)
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1753 GMT (0153 HKT)
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis".
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 2126 GMT (0526 HKT)
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1851 GMT (0251 HKT)
Sky gazers caught a glimpse of the "blood moon" crossing the Earth's shadow Tuesday in all its splendor.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
A staff stands next to the propellers of Sun-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 HB-SIB seen in silhouette during its first exit for test on April 14, 2014 in Payerne, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
This solar-powered aircraft will attempt to circle the globe next year.
ADVERTISEMENT