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Italy government easily wins first confidence vote

Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta addresses a news conference at the end of the G8 summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, No
Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta addresses a news conference at the end of the G8 summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, No

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta won his first confidence vote in parliament on Friday, using the procedure to push through a series of measures including funding for regions hit by earthquakes last year.

Letta was never in danger of losing the vote and his grand coalition of traditional rivals from the center-left and center-right won by 383 votes to 154 in the lower house. The bill had already been passed in the Senate.

Letta's government, formed after a deadlocked national election in February, has faced tensions in recent days because of a series of trials against center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, although both sides have declared its stability was not in doubt.

The decree, put together by the previous government of Mario Monti, covered a diverse package of provisions ranging from emergency environmental measures to help for earthquake-devastated areas in central and northern Italy.

Confidence votes are commonly used by Italian governments to avoid the potentially lengthy process of parliamentary amendments and to hasten the final approval of laws.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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