Berlusconi survives confidence vote

Italian PM's victory sparks violent protests

By a narrow margin, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived two confidence votes avoiding the collapse of his conservative government. Berlusconi won by three votes in the lower house, with 314 in favor, 311 against and two abstentions. He also won a confidence motion in the Senate. But he still lacks a clear parliamentary majority, and Italian citizens were not happy with Berlusconi’s victory: protestors clashed violently with police, who fired tear gas, and tens of thousands of people marched through Rome calling for the PM to step down. Although his tenure will end in 2013, it seems he no longer has the margin to govern, and analysts believe he might call early elections in the coming weeks. And while political chaos has become the norm in Italy, the stakes seem higher now given that the markets are intensely focused on Italy’s economic slow growth and high debt.

New York Times

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