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Silvio Berlusconi Gains Vote Of Confidence For Austerity Measures

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BERLUSCONI
PA

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government won a vote of confidence on Wednesday in parliament, on a 54-billion-euro austerity package aimed at staving off financial crisis in Italy.

Berlusconi's centre-right government pushed through the package quickly and narrowly won the vote, suggesting that the austerity package will go through. It remains for the lower house to vote, but this is largely a formality. Had the vote been lost, it would have heralded the collapse of Berlusconi's government.

The austerity package was drawn up under pressure from the European Central Bank and other European Union countries. The cuts and tax increases are intended to prevent Italy falling prey to Europe's spiralling debt crisis

The Italian government has seen its borrowing costs rise to near ruinous levels in recent weeks but aims to bring in reforms to balance the budget by 2013.

Filed by Olivia Williams