Italy may have avoided a major government crisis and early elections, for now at least, after a meeting ended with crucial backing for Silvio Berlusconi.
The Northern League, a key partner in his coalition, said the premier should carry on, dismissing calls for his resignation by a powerful friend turned foe.
After months of infighting, lower house speaker Gianfranco Fini demanded that Berlusconi step down. The pair jointly founded the People of Freedom party two years ago but Fini set up his own movement after being expelled in July.
With Berlusconi also weakened by sex scandals, some on the streets of Rome believe it is time for him to go.
“I think Berlusconi should have resigned a long time ago. He can’t go on like this,” one man said.
A woman said that the prime minister should be doing more for the average Italian, “rather than fooling around with young girls.”
But, “believe me,” she added, “those waiting to take his place are just as bad, if not worse, than Berlusconi.”