Budget protest

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Rome - President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro of Italy protested that he was not given enough time by Silvio Berlusconi's government to study the 1995 budget bill which he passed to parliament at the weekend. 'The head of state was denied the right to exercise the checks on legitimacy which are written in the constitution,' Mr Scalfaro wrote in a letter to the heads of Italy's two houses of parliament and Mr Berlusconi.

The budget law had to be signed by President Scalfaro by midnight on 30 September, but the package was presented to him hours ahead of the deadline. He said he signed the bill because he feared for the consequences on the financial markets if had he delayed it. Reuter