Italia wins confidence vote tied to Olympic funding - 26 January, 2006

Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government won a confidence vote Thursday in the Senate tied to financing for next month's Winter Olympics in Turin. The government drew up the measure to help cover a 80 million euros (US$96 million) budget shortfall for the Winter Games with measures including a scratch-card lottery that should produce 20 million euros (US$24 million) in revenue.

The Olympics take place February 10-26.

The measure, which the Senate passed by 148 votes to 82, must go the lower house for final approval. It is attached to a broader bill to on drug use, which would offer convicted drug addicts more alternatives to jail and would reduce the minimum prison sentences for dealers.

The government put the measures to a confidence vote as it tries to ensure the swift passage of a flurry of legislation before parliament is dissolved ahead of April elections.

Italian governments resort to confidence votes to speed up legislation and closing ranks among coalition lawmakers. If the government loses the vote, it must resign.

Berlusconi's conservative forces enjoy comfortable majority in both houses of parliament, reports the AP.


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