Backed by his own centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the small
centre-right NCD party, centrists and other miscellaneous groups, he
should win the vote in the 320-seat upper house.
But there will be close attention to the size of his majority after
some leftwingers in his own party initially threatened to vote
against the government. If he fell much below the 173 secured by his
predecessor Enrico Letta in December, his authority could be
weakened from the start.
With the euro zone's third-largest economy in urgent need of
potentially painful reforms and weighed down by a 2-trillion-euro
public debt, Renzi's room for maneuver is limited and an uncertain
parliamentary majority will not help.
The 39-year-old mayor of Florence, who won the leadership of the PD
in December, forced his party rival Letta to resign as prime
minister earlier this month after repeatedly attacking his
government's reform record.
He took office on Saturday promising a radical increase in tempo,
with an overhaul of the electoral and constitutional system to
ensure more stable governments in future, tax and labor reforms and
a shake-up of the bloated public administration, all within his
first 100 days.
His chief of staff Graziano Delrio told RAI state television the
government would cut taxes on non-wage labor costs, financing the
reduction through spending cuts and privatization revenues. But he
ruled out a new wealth tax, which some opposition politicians
suggested could be in the pipeline.
He also said that the government would respect the European Union's
deficit ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product after
comments from Renzi suggesting that he will seek room to breach the
limits temporarily to finance structural investments.
However the first signs of tension in the coalition came after he
said the government was considering raising taxes on financial
earnings from investments like short-term treasury bills, known as
BOTs, which are popular with many savers.
"Let's not get off on the wrong foot, announcing we could tax BOTs
is wrong in terms of method and substance," Transport Minister
Maurizio Lupi, from the NCD party, told the Corriere della Sera
Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, who was formally sworn in after
missing the main ceremony on Saturday, will play the key role in
implementing the reforms but he has not spoken publicly about tax
plans, which will have to be managed carefully if more tensions are
to be avoided.
[to top of second column]
Monday's Senate vote will be followed by a separate vote on Tuesday
in the lower house, where the PD has a strong majority.
A leftist faction in the PD openly opposed to Renzi withdrew a
threat to vote against the government but signs of dissent from
within the party underlined how uncertain Renzi's control of
The two main opposition parties, Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment
5-Star Movement and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's
center-right Forza Italia, do not have the numbers on their own to
topple the government but both have made it clear they want new
For the moment, prospects of movement on that front have been held
up by uncertainty over a deal reached by Renzi and Berlusconi to
reform electoral rules blamed for hindering the creation of stable
governments in Italy.
The deal, meant to favor large coalitions and reduce the role of
small parties, now looks to be under threat following demands by
Renzi's coalition partners to delay implementation pending a wider
constitutional reform of the Senate.
That could take many months, if it is agreed at all, potentially
smothering one of Renzi's main reform proposals before it gets off
The new government is being closely watched by its European
partners, still wary of what happened in 2011 when financial market
turmoil risked pushing Italy out of the euro zone.
(Reporting by James Mackenzie; editing by Ralph Boulton)
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