Italian cabinet secures confidence vote, exits crisis

11:07, October 01, 2010      

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday secured a confidence vote in the parliament, thus shunning a government crisis that could have triggered early elections.

The Senate approved with 174 yes votes a speech by Berlusconi, while 129 MPs refused to back it. The majority requirement was 152 votes.

The Senate victory, following another on Wednesday at the Chamber of Deputies, helped end a long government crisis which kicked off with the summer rift between Berlusconi and his former ally, House Speaker Gianfranco Fini, who along with his team detached from the governing People of Freedom Party and founded a new parliamentary group.

In his speech, the premier outlined again the five strategic points on which he plans to focus in the remaining time of this legislature, set to expire in 2013.

The priorities are the reform of justice (including a cap on long trials), more safety, tax cuts, federalism and stronger policies for the poorer south (new strategic infrastructure such as the Messina Straits' bridge).

Berlusconi decided to put a confidence vote on the program in order to test his majority and see once and for all who was on his side.

"This vote definitely closes a season of internal differences in the governing majority that benefited no one," said Berlusconi as he welcomed the final result.

"Today the government exits the crisis stronger and more serene than before," added the premier.



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