Italy set for March polls

Italy headed for a March general election yesterday after the way was cleared for dissolution of the country's scandal- tainted parliament by lower house approval of the 1994 budget, Reuter reports from Rome.

'It's done. We'll be voting in March,' proclaimed La Repubblica newspaper, after the Chamber of Deputies backed the budget on Saturday. The bill goes for a final reading in the Senate today, where approval is expected in the next few days. Prime Minister Carlo Azeglio Ciampi's austerity budget is the last piece of major legislation requiring passage before the President, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, can dissolve parliament. He will set an election date this week.