Italy's political parties voiced support for Prime Minister Mario Monti on Saturday and urged him to focus on fairness as he prepared to unveil urgent reforms to pull the country out of a debt crisis.
"Our main advice is to proceed with equity (so that) the burden be in line with what taxpayers can afford," Angelo Alfano, head of former premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, said after meeting with Monti.
The new prime minister has made "equity" his key word, after deciding last month to tackle the "numerous disparities in treatment" and sectors with "unjustified privileges" in the Italian system.
Monti is set to unveil a series of budget cuts and pension reforms on Monday aimed at tackling the country's huge debt and boosting growth -- and is counting on cross-party support to get the measures quickly approved.
"Monti has been called in precisely to take decisions which are far from easy, and we are aware of this," Alfano said, adding that the biting measures were necessary "to make Italy better."
The head of the Union of the Centre (UDC), Pier Ferdinando Casini, expressed solidarity with the government's "severe" reforms but asked Monti to ensure that "austerity measures are wedded to fairness".
The premier was also due to meet the head of Italy's left-wing Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani, on Saturday evening.