The Italian prime minister has called for a confidence vote on his government.
The move by Silvio Berlusconi comes after he lost a routine parliamentary vote on the country’s budget on Tuesday.
The prime minister believes he will win the confidence vote, which is expected on Friday.
He said: “On a political level, there is no credible, serious alternative to this government in the elected chambers of the lower or upper houses of parliament.”
The opposition boycotted parliament during Berlusconi’s speech.
Anger over an austerity programme is growing in Italy. Demonstrators have even set up a protest camp outside the headquarters of the Bank of Italy.
The bank’s governor has backed calls for deep reforms.