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Berlusconi ministers resign; Italy gov’t in crisis

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MILAN — Italy’s fragile coalition government was pushed into a full-fledged crisis Saturday after five ministers from former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s political party announced their resignations.

The move drew the ire of Premier Enrico Letta, who accused Berlusconi of a ‘‘crazy’’ gesture aimed at covering up his personal affairs.

The five-month-old government has teetered for weeks since the high court confirmed Berlusconi’s tax fraud conviction.

Berlusconi’s center-right People of Liberty Party is in an unusual coalition of rival forces with Letta’s center-left Democratic Party, and the resignations signal the end of the alliance. The resignations must be formally submitted to President Giorgio Napolitano, who will decide whether new elections should be held.

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