Berlusconi faces vote of confidence in parliament this week

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, hanging on to power amid the worst political crisis of his four-year tenure, will put his government's record to a vote of confidence this week, parliament officials said Tuesday.

The premier is scheduled to deliver a speech Wednesday afternoon first in the Senate and then at the lower house of parliament, parliament officials said. The next day, he will face the confidence vote. If he loses the vote, the government must resign.

It was unclear who demanded the vote of confidence, although it was widely expected after Berlusconi's coalition suffered a crushing defeat at regional elections held across Italy this month.

On Monday, he resisted calls to resign that came from within his own coalition, and said after a meeting with Italy's president that he would discuss the crisis before parliament.

ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer

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