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Support for Berlusconi crumbles

Monday, November 07, 2011 - 02:20

Nov. 07 - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has one day left to win over waverers and see off a group of party rebels threatening to bring down his government in a backlash over its failure to adopt reforms to defuse a debt crisis. Hayley Platt reports.

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Another strike in Rome - this time involving bus and train workers . But commuters weren't the only ones going nowhere. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi used his Facebook page to say he has no plans to leave his post, despite increasing pressure from voters. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) STUDENT GIUSEPPE, SAYING: "I think we should have either a technical government or fresh elections because we cannot go ahead like this - this is no way to govern the country." Berlusconi faces a crunch vote of confidence on Tuesday. Party rebels are threatening to bring down the government over its failure to bring in reforms and defuse a debt crisis. The uncertainty over Italy's political future has pushed its borrowing costs to a 14-year high at almost 6.6 percent. And many now fear Italy could become another Greece - with far greater consequences. Peter Dixon of Commerzbank. SOUNDBITE: Peter Dixon, economist, Commerzbank, saying (English): "Mr Berlusconi has promised to put measures on the table, he already has done in fact whether they will be followed through remains to be seen but Mr Berlusconi probably is a hindrance to further changes in Italy and there are many in the markets who would probably say his time is up." The Italian press say between 20 and 40 MPs could defect - enough to topple the government. Phillip Pullella, a Reuters correspondent based in Rome, says if Berlusconi does resign there are two possible scenarios. SOUNDBITE: Phillip Pullella, Reuters correspondent, saying (English): "One, that it would be a technocrat government led by someone like Mario Monti who was a former European Commissioner and he would lead a technocratic government to just push through economic reforms. Another possibility that is making the rounds, is that possibly Napolitano would ask Gianni Letta, who is Berlusconi's trusted under-secretary in the cabinet, to try and form a new government." The 75-year-old media tycoon has branded rebel lawmakers traitors to Italy. But many believe the writing is now on the wall for Berlusconi. And defeat in Tuesday's vote could be the beginning of the end for one of Europe's longest serving leaders. Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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Support for Berlusconi crumbles

Monday, November 07, 2011 - 02:20