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Italian PM vows radical change

Italy’s newly sworn-in Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has set out a “bold vision” of reform before a Senate vote of confidence in his new government, BBC reports.

As well as planned election law changes, tax cuts and investment in jobs, he said he wanted to abolish the Senate as a law-making body.

The Democratic Party leader, who is not an MP, acknowledged that at 39, he was not even old enough to be a member of the upper house.

The minimum age for a senator is 40.

He told senators he wanted to start reforms to the upper house as early as next month.

Renzi, who was sworn in on Saturday, is expected to survive the Senate vote, although he will be looking for a larger majority than party rival Enrico Letta whom he swept from power earlier this month. Mr Letta won 173 votes in the 320-seat upper house as recently as December.

A second vote will take place in the lower house on Tuesday.

The 16-strong government, in which half the ministers are women, has an average age of under 48, the youngest in modern Italian history.

Renzi, who is also mayor of Florence, told the Senate on Monday that Italy, the third biggest economy in the eurozone, had to get serious about tackling its public finances.

It was not because of pressure from German Chancellor Angela Merkel or the head of the European Central Bank, he said, but because “we have to do it out of respect for our children”.

The new prime minister has named a cabinet largely unknown outside Italy, with Pier Carlo Padoan of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development given the post of economy minister and Renzi’s PD party colleague Federica Mogherini replacing Emma Bonino at the foreign ministry.

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