The future of Silvio Berlusconi’s fragile government dominates the headlines following another blistering attack by his one-time ally turned bitter rival Gianfranco Fini.
It’s thought the prime minister may turn to the right-wing Northern League for support as parliament resumes this week.
Fini scorned the party he co-founded with Berlusconi.
“The People of Freedom party no longer exists,” he said. “It belongs to a beautiful and fascinating political hypothesis that has never become reality.”
The lower house speaker described as an act of Stalinism his expulsion from the party in July. His departure left Berlusconi’s government without a majority.
But Fini refuses to bring the government down, saying early elections would be a “failure for everyone”.
Despite the personal animosity between the two political heavyweights, Fini has vowed to support planned reforms on a case-by-case basis.
The prime minister’s staked his government’s future on a series of measures ranging from justice and tax, to aid for the impoverished south.
Berlusconi hasn’t reacted to the latest attack, but others accuse Fini of wanting to have his cake and eat it.