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Italy's Economics Minister Resigns

Italy says Economy and Finance Minister Domenico Siniscalco has resigned.

An Economy Ministry official said Thursday Mr. Siniscalco stepped down Wednesday night.

The official refused to give details, but Italian media said Mr. Siniscalco resigned after his efforts to oust Bank of Italy governor Antonio Fazio failed.

Mr. Fazio, who has been under fire following his handling of a bank takeover battle, has refused to step down.

The resignation of the finance minister is seen as a blow to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conservative government less than a year away from general elections.

Mr. Siniscalco, a respected economist and a political independent, took over at the ministry in July 2004, after Giulio Tremonti, the current deputy-premier, was forced out by infighting in the governing coalition.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.