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Berlusconi vows to scrap homes tax

Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi is promising Italians if they vote him back into office that he will not only abolish an unpopular tax on primary residences, but refund property taxes Prime Minister Mario Monti's government made them pay in 2012.

Berlusconi abolished the tax when last elected premier in 2008, but Monti, who replaced him in 2011 as Italy sunk into the Eurozone debt crisis, revived it to help fill state coffers.

Berlusconi told a gathering of supporters that the revenue lost by reimbursing homeowners the four billion euro (£3.5 billion) they paid in property taxes could be compensated for by eliminating state financing for political parties, raising cigarette taxes and taxing Italians' assets in Switzerland.

The populist's centre-right forces trail a centre-left coalition in opinion polls ahead of the February 24-25 elections.

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