19 Nov 2011

New PM endorsed by parliament

8:02 am on 19 November 2011

Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy has won full approval from parliament for his austerity plan to deal with the country's budget crisis.

MPs in the lower house voted 556 - 61 to endorse the new government's programme after Mr Monti asked to be allowed to continue in office until new elections in 2013.

The Senate endorsed the new programme on Thursday, by 281 - 25.

Mr Monti has promised to fight tax evasion and reform pensions to bring down Italy's debt, which is one of the highest in the world.

Mr Monti was sworn in on Sunday and is under considerable pressure to act quickly.

Addressing the senators, he promised to respect Italy's timetable to balance its budget by 2013 and reduce its debt, but said austerity measures would be balanced by economic growth and social fairness.