30 Apr 2013

Deadline for turnaround set by new PM

12:38 pm on 30 April 2013

New Prime Minister Enrico Letta has given himself 18 months to turn the Italian economy around.

In his first address to parliament, Enrico Letta vowed results in turning the recession-hit economy around within 18 months, or "face the consequences".

He said he would reform electoral law and welfare provision, cut MPs' pay and suspend an unpopular property tax.

His coalition won a confidence vote later on Monday when the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, approved the new government by a vote of 453 to 153.

The BBC reports coalition will face a second confidence vote in the Senate on Tuesday.

Mr Letta said he would travel to Berlin and other major European capitals this week to lobby EU partners to switch to more growth-orientated policies.

"Italy is dying from austerity alone," he said. "Growth policies cannot wait."

Mr Letta said the European Union was suffering "a crisis of legitimacy" and had to return to being "a motor of economic growth".

The first act of government, he said, would be to lead by example by cutting the salaries of ministers who receive a second income for being members of parliament.

He also said a scheduled instalment in June of a widely resented property tax would be halted and a reform of the tax discussed.