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Monti’s Popularity Falls After Approval of Italy’s Labor Package

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s popularity fell after his cabinet endorsed a bill that eases firing rules, a poll showed.

Confidence in Monti declined four percentage points to 55 percent from the previous survey Feb. 27, Rome-based IPR Marketing said today in a survey for daily la Repubblica.

His cabinet approved a bill March 23 to overhaul the labor code, prompting a call for a general strike by CGIL, the biggest union, and criticism by the Democratic Party, one of the three main groups supporting the government. Under the proposed rules, companies will be able to fire workers during difficult economic times without the risk of a court ordering their reinstatement.

The unelected premier, who took over on Nov. 16 from former Premier Silvio Berlusconi, is the most popular member of his government, together with Interior Minister, Anna Maria Cancellieri, today’s poll showed. They are followed by International Cooperation Minister Andrea Riccardi and Industry Minister Corrado Passera, who both enjoy the confidence of 53 percent of Italians, IPR said.

Monti’s popularity compares with a rating of 22 percent for Berlusconi in IPR’s poll in November, his lowest level since 2008. Today’s poll of 1,000 people was conducted March 26 and has a margin of error of 3.3 percent, IPR said.

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