ROME — Italy’s opposition presented a no-confidence motion against Premier Silvio Berlusconi yesterday, setting the stage for a showdown in Parliament that could spell the end of the government.
The opposition Democratic Party and the allied Italy of Values party cosponsored the motion in the lower Chamber of Deputies. No date has been set for it to be discussed.
Berlusconi’s government has been in a tailspin for months, fueled most recently by allegations of his involvement with prostitutes and a 17-year-old Moroccan girl. But the political crisis accelerated over the weekend when his estranged ally Gianfranco Fini formally called on him to resign and remake a strengthened coalition. Berlusconi refused.
The no-confidence motion will now force Fini and his allies, whose support is crucial to the premier, to choose whether to support him or bring the government down.
Democratic Party leader Pierlugi Bersani urged Fini and his allied lawmakers to vote with the opposition, saying: “I would like to believe that all those who think that this phase is finished be coherent, and this is the occasion to show it.’’
Italy’s center-left opposition has to date been unable to capitalize on mounting dissatisfaction with Berlusconi’s efforts to pass a law that would spare him and other top office holders from prosecution while in office.
But Berlusconi’s dalliances have now cost him support from some conservative supporters.