March 20, 2012 / 3:32 PM / 5 years ago

Italy calls confidence vote to pass deregulation package

ROME, March 20 (Reuters) - The Italian government on Tuesday called a confidence vote in the lower house of parliament to speed the final passage of measures to deregulate the service sector that Prime Minister Mario Monti says are vital to boosting growth.

After passing a 33-billion-euro austerity package last year, Monti pushed through a deregulation decree in January to boost the country's growth rate, which has trailed the euro zone average for more than a decade.

The confidence vote, to be held on Wednesday, will eliminate the risk of further amendments after a lengthy tug-of-war in the Senate that critics say watered down the reform.

If passed, the package will abolish minimum tariffs among most professions, except for lawyers, and increase the number of pharmacies nationwide. The technocrat government is supported by an overwhelming cross-party majority in parliament and should have no difficulty passing the bill.

To see a Factbox on the deregulation package, click

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