Ber­lus­coni fights for sur­vival in con­fi­dence vote

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

ROME: Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Silvio Ber­lus­coni faces a close par­lia­men­tary con­fi­dence vote on Tues­day that could drive him from power or leave him cling­ing to a wafer­thin ma­jor­ity.

The 74-year-old me­dia ty­coon has re­peat­edly de­fied the skep­tics, shrug­ging off a string of gaffes and scan­dals to win three elec­tions and trans­form Italy's po­lit­i­cal land­scape since gain­ing power for the first time in 1994. But af­ter a year over­shad­owed by cor­rup­tion and sex scan­dals and an ac­ri­mo­nious split with for­mer ally Gian­franco Fini that cost him a se­cure par­lia­men­tary ma­jor­ity, a day of reck­on­ing has ar­rived for Ber­lus­coni.

His strug­gling govern­ment faces a no con­fi­dence mo­tion in the lower house brought by the op­po­si­tion and rebel cen­ter­right deputies loyal to Fini and a con­fi­dence vote it has put for­ward it­self in the Se­nate where it has a ma­jor­ity.

If he loses ei­ther, he will have to step down, leav­ing Pres­i­dent Gior­gio Napoli­tano to ap­point a new govern­ment or call elec­tions more than two years be­fore the sched­uled date in 2013. An in­ten­sive cam­paign of lob­by­ing and per­sua­sion ap­pears to have won over enough deputies to give Ber­lus­coni a chance of sur­vival, with many com­men­ta­tors es­ti­mat­ing the govern­ment may just have the num­bers to scrape through. "Bat­tle to the last vote," head­lined Turin daily La Stampa. With 630 deputies in the lower house, Ber­lus­coni in the­ory needs 316 votes to be sure of vic­tory but the ac­tual to­tal re­quired may be smaller due to ab­sten­tions or the ab­sence of a heav­ily preg­nant mem­ber of the op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Party.

The Se­nate re­sult is ex­pected around 11.30 a.m. (1030 GMT), with the lower house re­sult likely af­ter 1.30 p.m. (1230 GMT), with po­lice block­ing off the cen­ter of Rome to head off ex­pected protests by thou­sands of stu­dents and oth­ers. But the govern­ment's prospects fur­ther along re­main ex­tremely un­cer­tain and a tiny ma­jor­ity would leave it un­able to em­bark on ma­jor re­forms, point­ing to fur­ther crises ahead.

"Ei­ther there are the con­di­tions for con­tin­u­ing in govern­ment with a solid ma­jor­ity or it would be bet­ter to go to an elec­tion," In­te­rior Min­is­ter Roberto Ma­roni, a se­nior mem­ber of Ber­lus­coni's North­ern League coali­tion al­lies told re­porters. -Reuters

PRE­TO­RIA: An­golan Pres­i­dent Jose Ed­uardo dos Santos (L) looks on dur­ing his first visit to South Africa for bi­lat­eral dis­cus­sions with South African Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma. -Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.