14 Dec 2010

Berlusconi appeals to Parliament for support

8:31 am on 14 December 2010

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has warned that Italy could be plunged into economic crisis if his opponents succeed in passing votes of no confidence that could trigger early elections.

He made the comments in the first of two speeches to the Italian parliament, before the votes.

Those seeking to remove him would be unable to form a government, he told the Senate, saying Italy needed operational continuity, and ousting him would create a "crisis in the dark".

The BBC reports Mr Berlusconi is expected to win in the Senate but the lower house decision could come down to one or two votes.

If he loses the votes, due to take place on Tuesday, Mr Berlusconi has said there will be early elections.