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Silvio Berlusconi isolated as his aides set to back Italy govt

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 16:53

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Rome: As Italy government faces a confidence vote in Parliament on Wednesday, ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi’s hope of toppling the Enrico Letta government seems to be fading with his top aides set to back the PM.

The confidence vote comes after Berlusconi withdrew his party’s five ministers from the governing coalition, giving a jolt to an already wobbly left-right coalition.

The resignations were however rejected by PM Enrico Letta.

However, divide seems to be cropping up within Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party with his top aide Interior Minister Angelino Alfano saying that PDL lawmakers should back the Letta government in the confidence vote.

After holding long negotiations with Berlusconi, Alfano said, "I am firmly convinced that our party as a whole should vote confidence in Letta tomorrow”.

But Berlusconi, who is adamant on toppling the Letta government, said that the PM had invited his “political assassination by judicial means”- referring to his conviction in tax fraud.

Berlusconi further said that he knew that it was risky but he has “decided to put an end to the Letta government".

Berlusconi’s ministers had quit the coalition citing the government’s inability to revoke an increase to Italy`s sales tax that comes into effect this week.

However, PM Letta called it as an “alibi” claiming that Berlusconi was pressurizing the government on sales tax issue only to justify his “crazy and irresponsible gesture, all aimed only to cover up his personal affairs."

The latest twist in Italian politics is set to plunge the country back to the phase of instability and uncertainty as President Giorgio Napolitano would decide if new elections would be necessary.

Italy, the eurozone`s third largest economy, is already in a tottering economic condition and any further political instability will not augur well for the country’s recession, debt and high rate of unemployment.

First Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 11:41
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