ITALY’S embattled Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi won a vote of confidence in parliament yesterday, saving his centre-right government from collapse.
The government took the votes of 342 deputies, 33 more than it needed to prevail. A breakaway group from Berlusconi’s coalition had said earlier it would back him in the vote, making it almost certain that he would win.
“We will not neglect our duty, we want to carry on until the end of the parliamentary term (ending 2013),” said Italo Bocchino, parliamentary leader of the dissident group headed by lower house speaker, Gianfranco Fini. Deprived of a parliamentary majority following bitter infighting which culminated with Fini leaving the coalition in July with 34 deputies and 10 senators, Berlusconi risked having to step down if he lost the vote.
The dissidents fell in line after Berlusconi’s conciliatory speech giving details of government plans including tax cuts and legal reform but insisted on the need to avoid deepening the country’s debt burden.
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