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Meloni wins final vote of confidence and promises support for Ukraine

Italy’s new prime minister won a 115-vote majority for her coalition government in a Senate vote.

Italy’s new far-right government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has easily won the second of two required confidence votes in Parliament by a comfortable margin.

Wednesday night’s vote in the Senate was 115 for his coalition government to 79 against, with five abstentions. The coalition needed at least 104 votes to obtain an absolute majority.

Before the vote, Meloni defended his political goals, stating that the only way to facilitate a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine is to help Kyiv defend itself militarily.

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“Peace can be achieved by supporting Ukraine…it is the only chance we have for the two sides to negotiate,” he said.

Meloni said that while the weapons Italy supplies to Ukraine are not decisive for the outcome of the war, they are vital for Italy to maintain its international credibility.

“Do you think Italy’s position will determine the outcome of the war?” Meloni asked, pointing out that the UK is supplying more weapons than the entire European Union combined.

“What would change is not the result of the war in Ukraine, what would change is the approach that others have towards us, what would change is our credibility, at the level of defense, national and commercial interests.”

Meloni has repeatedly pledged his support for Kyiv, while his coalition allies Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini have been far more ambivalent on the issue due to their historical ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Berlusconi, who sparked a political firestorm last week by reiterating his sympathy for Putin and accusing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of triggering the war, agreed with Meloni during the Senate confidence debate.

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He said he had always worked to unite Moscow with the West, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine meant that was now impossible.

“In this situation, naturally, we support the West,” he said. “We must work for peace, and we will do so in full agreement with our Western allies while respecting the will of the Ukrainian people.”

In other comments during his Senate speech, Meloni said he would lift limits on cash transactions that previous governments have enacted as a measure to combat tax evasion, and ruled out introducing a minimum wage, saying it was not the right way to increase the chronic economy of Italy. stagnant wages.

He also said the government would rewrite legislation imposing a windfall tax on energy companies that have benefited from rising oil and gas prices.

The previous government led by Mario Draghi had hoped to finance part of its measures to soften the impact of the energy crisis on companies and families through a 25 percent windfall tax on energy groups, but the revenue has been much lower than expected.

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