Italy’s government appears likely to survive after former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced that his party will vote to support the government of current Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
According to an AP report, Berlusconi initially demanded that the five cabinet ministers from his People of Freedom Party (PDL) vote to quit the government and bring it down. Berlusconi changed his mind before the confidence vote, saying: “Italy needs a government that can produce structural and institutional reforms that the country needs to modernize. We have decided, not without internal strife, to vote in confidence.”
In August, the former Prime Minister was convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to four years in prison. A law passed in 2012 bars anyone receiving a sentence longer than two years from holding office for six years. Berlusconi has challenged the constitutionality of the law, arguing that the judges who adjudicated his sentence are trying to eliminate him from Italian politics. A vote planned for Friday could strip Berlusconi of his Senate seat.
Letta spoke to the Senate and argued that his five-month-old government has succeeded thus far, and he laid out a plan to turn around Italy’s disastrous economy. He warned that Italy runs a “fatal risk” if the ministers voted to sack the government.