Berlusconi Expects to Survive Confidence Vote

Posted October 14th, 2011 at 4:55 am (UTC-5)
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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is expected to survive Friday's confidence vote in parliament.

Mr. Berlusconi was forced to call the vote after his center-right majority party failed to pass a budget provision by one vote earlier this week.

On Thursday, Mr. Berlusconi told lawmakers there is no viable alternative to his coalition. He said the collapse of his government would trigger early elections that would not solve Italy's financial crisis and would instead force the country into “decline” and “catastrophe.”

Mr. Berlusconi has rejected calls for his resignation from an opposition that he accused of being obsessed with driving him from office. Opposition lawmakers boycotted Thursday's address, which the head of the main opposition Democratic Party, Pierluigi Bersani, called pathetic.

The Italian prime minister has seen his image tarnished by his role as a defendant in several trials on charges of bribery, tax fraud, abuse of power and paying for underage sex. He denies any wrongdoing.