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Italy Government Calls Confidence Vote On Austerity

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti
Italy's government has called a confidence vote in parliament on a package of austerity measures aimed at restoring market confidence in the country's ability to pay its debts.

The vote in the lower house on December 16 will likely be followed by a similar vote in the upper house next week.

The government called the confidence votes hoping to speed up approval of the austerity package since the votes force legislators either to accept the package as it is -- or the government falls.

Prime Minister Mario Monti's technocrat government was appointed last month as markets grew increasingly concerned about whether Italy -- the eurozone's third-largest economy -- would be able to pay its debts.

Monti says the 24-billion-euro ($32-billion) austerity package of spending cuts and increased taxes is intended to "save Italy."

compiled from agency reports

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