Italian Govt Calls Confidence Vote On Austerity

ROME (AP) - Italy's government has called for a vote of confidence on an austerity package aimed at persuading markets that Italy can get its finances under control to emerge from the spiraling debt crisis.

The move is aimed at ensuring passage of the euro30 billion ($39 billion) package of tax hikes and spending cuts that have been hotly contested by lawmakers and unions.

The package - which also calls for reinvesting euro10 billion to spur growth - goes to a vote in the lower house of Parliament on Friday, then to the Senate at a later date.

The vote was announced in the lower house on Thursday. Earlier, the speaker of the chamber suspended the session and ejected two lawmakers from the unruly right-wing Northern League who held up banners against the resurrection of a tax on primary residences.