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Italian Premier Gentiloni wins second vote of confidence

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni has won a second vote of confidence in Parliament, paving the way for his government to lead the country until new elections, after his predecessor was humiliated at the polls over proposed reforms.

The Senate voted 169-99 a day after the confidence measure easily passed Parliament's lower chamber.

Mr Gentiloni now heads to the first major international meeting of his premiership - Thursday's European Council summit - with Parliament's backing and his government in place.

Mr Gentiloni has said his priorities are to spur economic growth in Italy's south, rebuild the earthquake-devastated central region, and help politicians craft a new electoral law.

The new leader, who served as foreign minister in former premier Matteo Renzi's Democratic administration, said he would use the talks in Brussels to p ress Italy's demands for more assistance from Europe to settle or repatriate the tens of thousands of migrants coming ashore from Libyan-based smuggling operations.

But Maurizio Gasparri, of the centre-right Forza Italia party, said Mr Gentiloni is missing the point.

"The problem isn't that Europe isn't helping us," Mr Gasparri told the Senate before the vote. "Stop bringing 5,000 migrants a day into Italy."

Other opposition parties, including the anti-EU Northern League and the populist 5-Star Movement, have criticised Mr Gentiloni's decision to reappoint nearly all of the ministers of Mr Renzi's cabinet.

They said that ignored the results of the December 4 referendum in which the majority of Italians voted against Mr Renzi and his reforms.

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