Rome: Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi on Sunday said his government will last until the end
of its term in 2013 and easily survive a confidence vote in
the last week of September.
"We will go to the polls in three years because we have a
majority to govern," Berlusconi said at a gathering of his
party`s youth movement.
Berlusconi said he expected "not just a majority, but a
great majority" of lawmakers to vote in favor of a five-point
programme for the rest of the term that he will present to
parliament in the last week of September.
The confidence vote has long been considered the major
test of whether the government has a majority after months of
In July, Gianfranco Fini, the lower house speaker and a
former ally of Berlusconi, ended the prime minister`s
once-comfortable parliamentary majority by breaking away from
But after months of uncertainty and bitter political
warfare, Berlusconi and his camp this week stopped calling for
early elections and said the government would find a way to
survive until the end of its term.
"I don`t think the lawmakers that joined the new group
headed by Fini want to break the promise they made with
voters," Berlusconi said.
Fini has said he and his supporters would vote for the
programme, despite the rift with Berlusconi. In the past, he
has strongly opposed legislation that would help Berlusconi
avoid prosecution on corruption and tax fraud charges.
Over the past few week, Berlusconi has been courting
small independent groups in parliament and the Milan-based
media billionaire is hoping to draw into his majority up to 13
lawmakers representing poorer southern regions.
According to Italian media, Berlusconi can currently
count on 307 votes in the lower house, nine less than what he
needs to obtain an absolute majority of 316.