One of the best known members of Silvio Berlusconi’s government has threatened to resign in the latest blow to the Italian leader’s premiership.
Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna has announced she will quit after next month’s confidence votes which could trigger elections.
Complaining of being sidelined she said Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party had degenerated into a series of feuding gangs.
Carfagna’s decision to go is yet one more problem for the media tycoon whose approval ratings have been battered by a weak economy and corruption scandals among his ministers.
His own image has been tarnished once more over his dealings with a teenage nightclub dancer.
Berlusconi faces the crunch confidence votes on December 14 after a split with his former ally Gianfranco Fini. His move subsequently deprived the leader of his majority in the lower house.