Berlusconi leadership on the line in vote
Silvio Berlusconi will stake his waning credibility on a confidence vote in parliament tomorrow, the loss of which could bring down his ailing coalition.
The Italian prime minister, who is involved in sex scandals and three criminal trials, hopes to rebound from an embarrassing setback on Tuesday, when a poor turnout by his allies meant a routine budgetary measure failed to pass through the house.
If he loses the confidence vote, he will be compelled to resign, bringing his third stint as prime minister to an end.
Senior government figures dismissed the budgetary impasse, with 290 MPs voting for the measure and the same number against, as a "technical hitch". But critics said it was a sign the 75-year-old media mogul was losing his grip on power. Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the Democratic Party, the biggest opposition party, said Mr Berlusconi should resign. "A government defeated on the budget cannot balance the budget; and without that the government cannot continue," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)