New Italian PM Wins Senate Confidence Vote

Posted November 17th, 2011 at 5:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Italy's new prime minister, Mario Monti, has easily won a confidence vote in the Italian Senate, which is also a vote of confidence in his plans to fix the debt crisis.

The upper house of parliament gave its approval of Mr. Monti's new government Thursday, 281-25. The lower house votes Friday.

Before Thursday's vote, Mr. Monti told the senate that resolving Italy's debt crisis is critical to the future of the euro.

He said he may bring back an unpopular property tax that his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi eliminated.

Mr. Monti also said he will consider overhauling the entire tax system. Measures might include cutting taxes on employers and providing tax breaks for hiring women. He said shifting the tax burden from employers to consumers will encourage growth.

Mr. Monti, an economics professor and former European Union commissioner, was sworn in Wednesday. He said Italians will have to make sacrifices to get the economy moving forward again.

Meanwhile, thousands of students across Italy marched against the country's new government. Demonstrators against budget cuts and a lack of jobs clashed with police in Rome, Milan, and other cities.

Strikes by transportation workers also brought trains and buses to a stop in Rome on Thursday.

European Union leaders have been pressuring Italy to cut public spending to avoid becoming the latest eurozone member to request a bailout. EU officials worry that the Italian economy is too big to be rescued, and they fear its collapse would be a major blow to the euro.