By Ria Novosti
The upper house of the Italian parliament, the Senate, passed late on Thursday a crucial vote of confidence to the new government led by Prime Minister Mario Monti.
The Senate voted 281-25 to back the new Cabinet which was sworn in at the presidential palace on Wednesday, ending Silvio Berlusconi’s 17-year-long political hegemony.
The lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, will vote on Friday.
The new 12-minister Cabinet includes no politicians. It instead consists of businessmen, diplomats and bankers tasked with saving Italy from a deepening economic downturn.
Monti, an ex-EU commissioner, was appointed as Italy’s prime minister on Sunday after the resignation of the 75-year-old Silvio Berlusconi, who stepped down after parliament approved new austerity measures demanded by the European Union to help trim Italy’s massive 1.9-trillion-euro debt.
The new prime minister, who will also hold the post of Italy’s economic minister, earlier said that he was committed to restore stability in Italy and push for economic growth. He also expressed respect to Silvio Berlusconi, whose People of Freedom party pledged their entire support for Monti’s government.