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Italian Adversaries Join Forces To Try To Stop Lira’s Nose Dive

Associated Press

Seeking to halt the lira’s nose dive, political adversaries put aside differences Sunday to offer support for a deficit-cutting proposal by Premier Lamberto Dini.

The lira crashed through a series of all-time lows against the German mark last week as financial markets became concerned that Dini’s budget plans would hit opposition.

But rival political leaders now appear willing to join together to back Dini’s proposals, which could be outlined formally this week. The plan reportedly entails cuts in government spending and some tax increases.

Massimo D’Alema, leader of the former Communist Party, called Dini’s proposal “rigorous but equal … that asks sacrifices from the majority and also those that have more.”

Antonio Tajani, leader of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s party, Forza Italia (Let’s Go, Italy), indicated the bloc would support the measures but added that it still insists on elections this spring.

Dini, who was picked as a compromise premier for Italy’s 54th postwar government, put together a non-political Cabinet of experts and promised to step aside as soon as his programs are in motion.

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