Letta wins confidence vote after Berlusconi U-turn


Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has won a confidence vote in the Senate, following a last minute volte-face by Silvio Berlusconi.

A loss for Mr Letta threatened the fragile stability of the coalition government, but it seemed inevitable after Berlusconi withdrew his party’s support and demanded that five ministers from his centre-right PDL party leave the government. However, it became apparent that several of his senators would vote for the government and a number of his hardline supporters might not vote at all.

Mr Berlusconi attempted to limit the damage by saying he and his party would support the government after all. However his credibility has been greatly undermined by the incident and weakened his position in Italian politics.

The final vote was 235 to 70 in favour of the government.

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