Berlusconi vows to cancel property tax in 1st cabinet meeting, outlines 3rd 'contract'

Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi is vowing to scrap Italy's property tax in his first cabinet meeting if elected, zeroing in on Italians' deep distaste for the tax imposed by Mario Monti's government in a bid to raise public coffers.

Berlusconi outlined his latest "contract" with Italians on Friday as he pressed his latest comeback bid, promising a host of reforms and measures to give relief to Italians suffering through a deep recession and youth unemployment at a record 37 percent.

He blamed the reinstatement of the tax on primary residences for Italy's spiral into recession, saying it had decreased property values, halted housing sales and seriously harmed the construction industry.

Berlusconi's center-right coalition is currently trailing the center-left in polls some 27 percent to 38 percent.