Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's new government won a confidence vote in parliament today as he pledged to focus economic policy on business tax cuts, the south and families a year before national elections.
The four-way coalition, led by Berlusconi's &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2001/05/12/5045.html ' target=_blank>Forza Italia party, won 334 votes compared with 240 for the opposition in the lower house of parliament. The premier said he'd win back support of voters after losing 12 of 14 regional elections this month.
After the election setback, Berlusconi's allies the Union of Christian Democrats and the National Alliance demanded his resignation and the formation of a new government that no longer focused on income-tax cuts that favor high earners. Surviving the confidence vote means Berlusconi will not have to face early elections that the regional ballots showed his coalition would probably lose.
The Senate, or upper house of parliament, is scheduled to hold a confidence vote tomorrow. If a majority of either house votes against Berlusconi's administration in the confidence vote, the government would collapse, which would force the formation of a new government or early elections. Berlusconi is not required to seek elections before May of next year, informs the Bloomberg.
Berlusconi resigned last week from his post, but was asked by Italian President &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/g-8/2001/07/21/10687.html ' target=_blank>Carlo Azeglio Ciampi to form a new government and retain the prime ministership.
Berlusconi's popularity has declined recently as the country's economy has slipped and opposition to Italian involvement in the U.S.-led war in Iraq has increased.