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Italian govt wins confidence vote on austerity
Italian govt wins confidence vote on austerity package as more protests strike hit Italy
By The Associated Press

ROME (AP) ' The Italian government has won a confidence vote over its package of anti-crisis austerity measures in the lower chamber of Parliament.

Premier Mario Monti called the vote, held Friday in the Chamber of Deputies, to speed passage of the measures he says are vital to save Italy from financial disaster. The package was approved by a vote of 495 in favor and 88 against. The Senate is expected to vote on the measures in the next few days.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ROME (AP) ' The Italian government faces a confidence vote over a package of austerity measures while a transport strike to protest the cuts is causing havoc for commuters across the country.

Premier Mario Monti is putting his package of new and higher taxes and pension reforms to a confidence vote in the lower Chamber of Deputies to speed up its passage.

The vote, which is expected by early evening Friday, will likely clear the measures, paving the way for final approval in the Senate within days.

The main political parties have said they would back the package despite disagreeing on some measures.

Monti says austerity is needed to save Italy from financial disaster, but unions are furious. Public transport workers idled buses and subways Friday. State railways were also on strike.

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