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Mario Monti and his welfare minster minister Elsa Fornero, pictured during today's debates in the Italian senate. Andrew Medichini/AP

Italian parliament passes vote of confidence in Monti's government

The Italian senate follows the chamber of deputies in passing a motion of confidence in Mario Monti’s technocratic cabinet.

THE ITALIAN SENATE has followed the country’s Chamber of Deputies in passing a motion of confidence in Mario Monti’s technocratic government – paving the way for another major package of austerity measures.

Senators voted by 257 votes to 41 to express confidence in Monti’s administration, though BBC News remarks that all major political parties expressed some reservations about the €33bn package of measures.

The austerity measures were tied to the vote of confidence – the second of Monti’s six-week tenure. The lower Chamber of Deputies had also easily passed a similar motion last Friday.

The measures include a controversial proposal to raise the retirement age for women from 60 to 66, in line with the age for men – an announcement which brought welfare minister Elsa Fornero to tears as she announced it earlier this month.

The cost of borrowing for Italy remains perilously high, however – with the markets currently charging 6.85 per cent for a 10-year loan to the Italian government, a level considered by many to be close to unsustainable.

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