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Berlusconi makes plea ahead of crucial confidence vote

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi says a vote of no confidence in him would topple the government and throw Italy into political and economic turmoil.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi ponders after delivering his message at the Senate, in Rome, Monday, Dec. 13, 2010.
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi ponders after delivering his message at the Senate, in Rome, Monday, Dec. 13, 2010.
Image: Pier Paolo Cito/AP/Press Association Images

ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER Silvio Berlusconi has issued a plea for his political life ahead of a crucial confidence vote this Wednesday.

Berlusconi warned that a vote of no confidence would be “political madness” that could drag Italy deeper into the eurozone debt crisis. During a 30 minute speech, Berlusconi offered to negotiate a new agenda and a cabinet reshuffle, concluding “the last thing Italy needs is a political crisis”.

Berlusconi has been at the centre of several scandals of late – relating to his private life, lavish parties and controversial comments in public. After a major falling out with Gianfranco Fini – formerly his closest ally and co-founder of his ruling party Forza Italia – Berlusconi faces confidence votes in both the upper and lower houses of parliament.

He is expected to win the vote in the upper house, but the lower house will prove more difficult. Berlusconi might squeak by with a margin of just one vote in the chamber of deputies, according to The Guardian. However, as Umberto Bossi – Berlusconi’s main remaining ally – noted: “With an edge of just one vote, you cannot govern.”

Even if Berlusconi manages to win over the lower house, it is unlikely that he will have the power required to push through  the reforms needed to tackle Italy’s economic woes, reports RTÉ.

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