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July 2, 2022

Berlusconi wins budget vote, but loses majority

ROME – Italian Prime Mi­nister Silvio Berlusconi has lost his majority in the lower house of parliament. Berlusconi won a vote on the budget, but received less than half the votes in the chamber, the BBC said.

Although the opposition did not vote on the measure, many MPs from the PM’s own coalition defected ahead of the vote.
Allies including the powerful Northern League had urged him to quit, and money markets no longer believe he can deal with the country’s debt crisis. Northern League leader Umberto Bossi is a volatile ally who brought down Berlusconi’s first government in 1994.

“We asked the prime minister to stand aside,” Bossi told reporters on the margins of parliament, adding that the former justice minister and personal protege of Berlusconi, Angelino Alfano, should take over. The normally routine vote on approving state finances has taken on much more significance now as a test of Berlusconi’s political strength.

After late-night talks with his own party and Northern League leaders, Berlusconi was reported to have said that he would wait to see the outcome of the vote before making a decision on his future. “One thing at a time. First the vote, let’s let it happen. Then we’ll reflect on the vote,” one of Berlusconi’s closest allies, MP Francesco Cicchitto, told reporters ahead of the budget vote.

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