Italy’s Berlusconi Survives Confidence Vote

Posted October 14th, 2011 at 6:15 pm (UTC-5)
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VIDEO: APExpress 4 – 10/14/2011 4:39:00 PM – AP-APTN-2030: Italy Berlusconi

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived a crucial confidence vote in parliament.

His center-right coalition won Friday by a vote of 316 in favor and 301 against.

Protesters gathered outside the parliament chanting anti-government slogans and throwing eggs at the building.

The opposition and the prime minister's critics said his victory is not likely to restore investors' confidence in the Italian economy.

The head of the main opposition Democratic Party, Pierluigi Bersani, called Mr. Berlusconi the only person who thinks that 316 votes will solve his problems.

Mr. Berlusconi was forced to call the vote after his coalition failed to pass a budget provision by one vote earlier this week.

On Thursday, he 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.” Opposition lawmakers boycotted his address.

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 and says the opposition is obsessed with driving him from office.