3 Oct 2013

Italian PM survives confidence vote

9:38 am on 3 October 2013

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has managed to retain control of his Government after former leader Silvio Berlusconi gave him a last minute show of support.

Berlusconi had earlier attempted to topple the Government by ordering his centre-right party to vote against a motion of confidence in Mr Letta, the centre-left prime minister of five months.

However, Berlusconi backed down in parliament overnight. The former president faced booing and cat calls when he walked out of the senate following the vote.

Radio New Zealand's correspondent in Italy Sabina Castelfranco told Morning Report the u-turn has been an embarrassment for Berlusconi who has more problems ahead.

A senate committee is due to vote on Friday on whether to strip Berlusconi of his seat due to his conviction for tax fraud.

The chances are that he will lose the seat, says Ms Castelfranco.

However, Ms Castelfranco says some of Berlusconi's supporters claim his leadership has been strengthened by the confidence vote.