Italian Government Wins Confidence Vote on Austerity

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government won a confidence vote on Wednesday in the lower house of parliament on a 54 billion euros ($74 billion) austerity package aimed at staving off financial crisis in Italy.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Vincenzo Pinto | AFP | Getty Images
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

The centre-right government, which called the vote to push through the package quickly, won the motion with 316 votes in favour and 302 against.

The much-revised austerity plan aims to balance the budget in 2013 and was drawn up under pressure from the European Central Bank and Italy's European Union partners.

The lower house now moves to a final vote, which is largely a formality, on the package later on Wednesday which turns the austerity measures into law.