Italian government faces confidence vote on growth package

ROME Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:00am EDT

taly's Prime Minister Enrico Letta looks on as he stands in the courtyard of Chigi Palace in Rome July 4, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

taly's Prime Minister Enrico Letta looks on as he stands in the courtyard of Chigi Palace in Rome July 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

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ROME (Reuters) - The Italian government called a confidence vote on Wednesday to push through a broad package of measures delayed by debate on hundreds of proposed amendments.

The fractious coalition government of Enrico Letta, which has a large right-left majority, is expected to easily survive the lower house vote to confirm a decree law passed in June and intended to stimulate growth. The vote will end debate on around 800 proposed amendments.

Confidence votes of this kind are regularly used to speed up lawmaking in the Italian parliament.

The populist 5-Star movement said they would seek to obstruct proceedings by speaking at length in the debate but two other opposition parties, Left Ecology and Freedom (SEL) and the federalist Northern League, said they were in favor of speeding up the debate.

The broad-ranging package includes measures to free up funding for public works projects and encourage wider use of public wireless internet access.

Vote on the confidence vote is expected around 1 p.m. (7 a.m.ET) with both Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) supporting the bill.

(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; editing by Barry Moody)

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