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Italian PM Sets seal on new government, unveils cabinet

Italian PM Sets seal on new government, unveils cabinet

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte unveiled his new cabinet on Wednesday, uniting two rival political parties in an unlikely coalition that is expected to improve ties with the European Union and adopt a softer stance on immigration.

The team of ministers drawn primarily from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) will be sworn into office on Thursday morning by President Sergio Mattarella.

The previous administration, which was also led by Conte, collapsed last month when Matteo Salvini’s far-right League party pulled out of its coalition with 5-Star in a vain attempt to force early elections.

Salvini’s gambit backfired badly, ushering in a new alliance between previously fierce political enemies that is expected to tone down his crackdown on migrants arriving by boat from Africa and look to repair strained ties with Brussels.

The key post of economy minister was handed to the PD’s Roberto Gualtieri, now head of the European Parliament’s economic affairs commission who was influential in 2018 negotiations to soften EU rules on state aid to ailing banks. 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio, who served as deputy prime minister, industry minister and labour minister in the previous administration, was named as foreign minister in the new cabinet despite having no experience in international diplomacy.

Once the ministers have been sworn in, Conte will have to win confidence votes in both houses of parliament before the government can officially start work.

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