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Austerity package moves from Senate to House

Italy gathers momentum against debt crisis

11 November, 13:56
Austerity package moves from Senate to House (ANSA) - Rome, November 11 - An austerity package paving the way for Premier Silvio Berlusconi to hand over the reins of command passed from the Senate to the House Friday as Italy gathered momentum in addressing its debt crisis.

The package, which contains EU-mandated moves on pensions, liberalisation, administrative cost-cutting and slashing red tape, was passed by 158 votes with 11 nays.

Berlusconi will decide later Friday whether to throw the weight of his People of Freedom (PdL) party, which holds a Senate majority, behind touted premier-in-waiting Mario Monti, the former European Union commissioner for competitiveness.

Money markets are said to be keenly awaiting the appointment of Monti, who could get a mandate from President Giorgio Napolitano to start pulling Italy back from the brink of default as early as Sunday.

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