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Italy's Draghi easily wins lower house confidence vote, now fully empowered

·1 min read

ROME, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghieasily won a vote of confidence in the lower house of parliamenton Thursday, the final step needed for his new government toexercise its full powers.

The Chamber of Deputies approved the confidence motion by535 votes to 56 in the 629-seat chamber, with the far-rightBrothers of Italy being the only major party to oppose theformer European Central Bank president.

Draghi was sworn into office last week after a drawn-outpolitical crisis which saw his predecessor Giuseppe Conte forcedout over a coalition rupture.

He already won a confidence vote on Wednesday in the upperhouse Senate, where he gave his maiden speech as premier settingout his policy priorities, starting with tackling the twincoronavirus and economic crises.

The decision to support Draghi has lacerated the 5-StarMovement, the largest party in parliament, which was formed in2009 as an anti-establishment protest group.

It has joined Draghi's multi-party government but many ofits voters and politicians still baulk at the idea of supportinga former ECB chief.

On Thursday 16 of 5-Star's 189 deputies defied the partyline by voting against Draghi. Fifteen of its 92 senators didthe same thing in the upper house vote the day before.

Smaller numbers in both houses abstained or did not show upfor the vote.

(Reporting by Gavin Jones and Angelo Amante, writing by GavinJones, editing by Crispian Balmer)