Italian government survives Senate vote, but will Berlusconi?

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Italian government survives Senate vote, but will Berlusconi?

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The Italian government won a late-night confidence motion in the Senate on Tuesday, supporting budget plans for 2014.

It was an indication of the strength of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s coalition, surviving even after Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right party pulled out on the eve of a vote to expel the media magnate from parliament over a tax fraud conviction.

Berlusconi is fighting to the last and has told Senators he has new evidence that will exonerate him but even his lawyers believe Wednesday’s vote will go against him and are preparing for the worst.

“We want to submit an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights because my client has not been given the chance to present all the evidence in his defence,” said Niccolo Ghedini who is Silvio Berlusconi’s lawyer.

If stripped of his Senate seat, Berlucsoni would lose immunity from arrest as he faces at least two other criminal probes.

This could be his Waterloo marking the end for the man who has for so long been a dominant force in Italian politics.