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Austerity and a new leader beckon for Italy

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Austerity and a new leader beckon for Italy


The man widely tipped to be the next Prime Minister of Italy received a warm welcome on his first day in the country’s Senate.

Following his appointment as a senator-for-life two days ago, Mario Monti could be the one to head up a transitional government as soon as current prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, stands down. With a cabinet meeting scheduled for Friday, speculation is mounting that Berlusconi could go as early as this weekend.

Many politicians seem to back Monti and Berlusconi has also given the respected economist his seal of approval. However, there are divisions within Berlusconi’s PDL over whether to support Monti.

The new senator’s reception took place as the upper house of parliament passed a new financial stability law. The lower house is expected to do the same on Saturday.

The law will lead to cuts in government spending and a raft of austerity measures as Italy tries to boost its ailing economy by cutting its immense public debt, and reducing its international borrowing costs, which this week hit an all-time high of 7.5 percent.

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