Arab Today, arab today italy crisis lower house to vote on austerity law
Last Updated : GMT 02:33:19
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Italy crisis: Lower house to vote on austerity law

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Italy crisis: Lower house to vote on austerity law

London - Arabstoday

Poster in Rome calling on PM Silvio Berlusconi to resign - 11 November Mr Berlusconi has promised to resign after the vote is passed The lower house of Italy\'s parliament is due to vote on a package of austerity measures demanded by the EU and designed to restore markets\' confidence in the country\'s economy. The vote will pave the way for Silvio Berlusconi to resign as prime minister. A technocrat government led by ex-EU commissioner Mario Monti seems likely. The Senate on Friday backed the plan, which includes a rise in the pension age, a fuel price hike and the sale of state assets. Following that vote, shares in most European markets rose 2-3%, and the interest rate paid on Italy\'s 10-year bonds dropped. IMF chief Christine Lagarde has welcomed the \"significant progress\" made in tackling the political crisis in Italy and Greece, where interim Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was sworn in at the head of a new cabinet on Friday. \"What we wanted at the IMF was political stability and a clear policy in both countries. I believe significant progress has been made,\" she said on Saturday during a visit to Tokyo. Moving fast Mr Berlusconi, who lost his parliamentary majority in a vote on Tuesday, has promised to resign after the austerity measures are passed by both houses of parliament. On Thursday, President Giorgio Napolitano - whose role is largely ceremonial - said he wished to \"dispel any doubt or misunderstanding\" on when the prime minister would fulfil his promise to resign. The lower house, the chamber of deputies, has begun its debate and is expected to complete its vote on Saturday, allowing Mr Napolitano to accept Mr Berlusconi\'s resignation as early as Saturday evening. He could then formally ask Mr Monti or another candidate to form a government of technocrats. Italy\'s leaders are desperate to signal that they can bring the country\'s finances under control, says the BBC\'s Alan Johnston in Rome, and they are moving fast. Mr Monti, a well respected economist, is exactly the sort of man that the money markets would like to see take charge at this time of crisis, our correspondent says. On Wednesday, the interest rate on 10-year Italian government bonds touched 7%, the rate at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal were forced to seek bailouts from the EU. An EU team has begun work in Rome, monitoring how Italy plans to cut its crushing debt burden, 120% of annual economic output (GDP). The Italian economy has grown at an average of 0.75% a year over the past 15 years. 

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