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Make or break confidence budget vote for Prodi

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Make or break confidence budget vote for Prodi

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Italy’s government is being put to the test tonight with a confidence vote on its 2007 budget. It is thought unlikely that Prime Minister Romano Prodi will lose as he has a majority in parliament – if he does he would be forced to resign. The austerity budget aims to bring Italy below the vital 3 percent mark set by the EU’s growth and stability pact for the first time since 2002.

For Prodi, the new change in direction is just beginning, he added, that much work still needs to be done. But with tax hikes and massive cuts planned on public spending – including university research – many are deeply opposed to the budget.

Yesterday, demonstrators were out in force in Rome to denounce the plans they say are making their lives insecure.

A recent poll has shown that for the first time more Italians are dissatisfied with Prodi than those who view him favourably since he gained election in April in one of the most tightly contested ballots in the country’s history.