The Italian Parliamenet's lower house approved austerity measures sought by the European Union on Saturday, with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi still expected to resign, The New York Times reported.
The measures were passed by a vote of 380 to 26, which was already passed by the Senate Friday night, The Times reported. The approved package, demanded by the EU, is designed to restore markets confidence in the Italian economy, reported BBC News. Just last week interest rates on borrowed Italian money soared, almost making a bailout necessary.
According to the Agence France-Presse, the Chamber of Deputies met at 11:30 a.m. GMT on Saturday. Just before the vote, lawmakers in Berlusconi's coalition chanted "Silvio! Silvio!" in support of the criticized politician, The Times reported.
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After 17 years in Italian politcs, Berlusconi has promised to resign once the package has been passed, reported Reuters. On Tuesday, Berlusconi lost his parlimentary majority in a vote. Following the Cabinet meeting after the vote, it is expected Berlusconi will step down, BBC reported.
The approval of the package by the lower house could mark the final act of Berlusconi's government. Reuters added that the scandal-ridden prime minister would likely hold one last Cabinet meeting before heading to Quirinale Palace to hand his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano.
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As Greece swore in a new government and Italy prepares for its next leader, stocks rose enough to turn the week positive, with Standard & Poor's stock-index ending with a gain of .9 percent, and the Dow Jones was up 2.2 percent at the end of the week, reported The New York Times.
If Berlusconi resigns, it is expected that ex-EU commissioner Mario Monti will take his place, the BBC reported.
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