Business, Finance & Economics

Italian PM Mario Monti easily wins confidence vote


In Naples on Nov. 17, students and the unemployed protested impending austerity cuts expected from new Italian Premier Mario Monti. For Monti and his technocratic government, the stakes are high.


Christopher Furlong

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti won a confidence vote in the Lower House of Parliament on Friday, in support of the $39 billion austerity package which he plans will cause economic growth and reduce Europe’s second-biggest debt, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.

Monti easily won the vote, although there were some disagreements, with the Chamber of Deputies voting 495 to 88 in favor of the government. If the vote had been blocked, Monti and his technocrat government would have been forced to resign, just one month after he took the position, the Associated Press reported.

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Now the measures will go to the Senate, which should vote on them before Dec. 25, The New York Times reported. Just before the vote on Friday, Monti appeared at a conference and said Europe’s response to the debt crisis “should be wrapped in a long-term sustainable approach, not just to feed short-term hunger for rigor in some countries,” The Times reported.

“To help European construction evolve in a way that unites, not divides, we cannot afford that the crisis in the euro zone brings us ... the risk of conflicts between the virtuous North and an allegedly vicious South,” he said, The Times reported.

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The measures voted on by the Lower House include an overhaul of the pension system, the reinstatement of a levy on primary residences and proposals to boost growth and fight tax evasion, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported. Monti plans for this to protect Italy from the debt crisis and bring down borrowing costs. The Treasury had to pay 6.47 percent to sell five-year debt on Dec. 14, the most in more than 14 years, Bloomberg reported.

Right and left-wing lawmakers have both criticized Monti’s reforms as too harsh on Italy’s pension system, the AP reported. Monti took office just a month ago when former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was all but forced to resign. Some of Berlusconi’s loyalists, who make up a large part of Parliament, denounced Monti’s decision to revive a home property tax that Berlusconi eliminated in his 2008 campaign.

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