Berlusconi Survives Confidence Vote
Breaking news from The Associated Press:
"Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi survives confidence vote in Parliament."
The BBC says "Berlusconi won the vote by 316 to 301, the bare minimum he needed." That, it adds, "presages trouble ahead. ... If Mr Berlusconi has to get a vote of confidence on every issue, he will find it very difficult to govern."
As NPR's Silvia Poggioli reported for Morning Edition this week, the Italian leader's latest brush with rejection "was triggered by the government's embarrassing defeat Tuesday on a vote to approve government spending this year. An angry Berlusconi rushed out of the chamber as opposition lawmakers shouted demands that he resign, a suggestion he has repeatedly and disdainfully dismissed."
And as she added:
"Italy is not in as bad a situation as Greece, but its debt has reached 120 percent of GDP. Growth is at 0.3 percent and has been stagnant for a decade. The country is spiraling into recession. Its reputation has been severely damaged by Berlusconi's personal scandals. He's facing three trials on charges of tax fraud, corruption and paying for sex with a minor."