Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday secured final parliamentary approval for his government of national unity. The lower house, Chamber of Deputies, backed the former European Central Bank (ECB) chief and his mixed Cabinet team of technocrats and politicians with 535 votes in favor, 56 against and five abstentions.
Given that nearly all parties have lined up behind the new executive, the near-unanimous result was not a surprise. On Wednesday, Mr Draghi overwhelmingly won a first vote of confidence in the Senate, the upper chamber, by a 262-40 margin, with two abstentions.
Italy's new leader is taking over at a particularly difficult time, as the coronavirus pandemic has killed almost 100,000 people and sent the Euro zone's third-largest economy plunging by a record 8.9 per cent last year.
In the lower house on Thursday, he said his government would have a constantly forward-looking vision which I trust will inspire our common effort towards overcoming this health emergency and the economic crisis.
Draghi, who has extensive contacts in the EU and the United States, was set to make his international debut as prime minister on Friday, taking part in a virtual summit of G-7 nations.
The EU is set to help Italy's recovery with more than 200 billion Euros in loans and grants during 2021-2026, but in return expects the country to address long-standing structural issues.
Draghi has promised to reform Italy's stifling bureaucracy, labyrinthine tax code and snail-paced justice system, as well as focus on education, closing the gap on female employment and fighting climate change.
The ex-ECB chief was unexpectedly called in to solve Italy's political crisis two weeks ago, after the implosion of Giuseppe Conte's previous centre-left government.
The man known as Super Mario for helping save the euro while at the ECB has since won surprisingly wide political backing, including from the far-right, euro skeptic League of Matteo Salvini.