Italy's Berlusconi faces showdown with ex-ally | world | Hindustan Times
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Italy's Berlusconi faces showdown with ex-ally

world Updated: Aug 04, 2010 21:16 IST
AP
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Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi faces a showdown in parliament after a key ally broke from his conservative governing coalition.

The vote in the lower house on Wednesday - an opposition censure motion against a government official implicated in a corruption scandal - is the first test of strength for Berlusconi after the breakup with Gianfranco Fini. Lawmakers loyal to Fini have formed their own group, potentially depriving Berlusconi's coalition of a majority in the lower house.

The motion is expected to fail as Fini's lawmakers say they will abstain rather than vote against the government. Still, mass abstentions will send a clear signal that Berlusconi's grip is loosening and show how much clout Fini now yields.