Italy Calls For Parliamentary Vote of Confidence on Austerity Package

Posted December 15th, 2011 at 4:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The Italian government has called for a parliamentary vote of confidence on an austerity package aimed at helping the European Union's third largest economy survive its debt crisis and get its finances under control.

The lower house of parliament is expected to vote on the $39-billion austerity package on Friday, with the upper house set to vote next week.

The higher taxes, together with budget and spending cuts, have been contested by both lawmakers and unions. The unions have threatened strikes, with workers especially worried about deep pension cuts.

Prime Minister Mario Monti's technocrat government has wide backing in both houses and the measures are expected to pass. Mr. Monti was appointed to replace Silvio Berlusconi last month and was charged with cutting debt to help Italy get through the eurozone financial crisis.

Italy's debt is currently running at 120 percent of the gross domestic product.