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Berlusconi brushes off referendum defeat

Berlusconi brushes off referendum defeat
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Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has made light of the latest Italian referendum results, which were a definitive defeat for his policies.
People voted against Berlusconi’s policies on privatising water supplies, rebuilding the nuclear industr, and giving government ministers the right not to appear at trials in which they are accused of a crime.
Following crushing defeats at last month’s local elections, he had urged voters not to participate in the referendum, but turnout was unusually high, with 95 percent of the vote going against Berlusconi. It is being seen as a personal blow for the embattled prime minister who faces three fraud trials and an on-going sex-scandal.
Berlusconi’s coalition partners, the Northern League, appear to be losing patience with him in recent weeks, describing the referendum results as a slap in the face.   
The referendum comes ahead of a June 22 confidence vote in parliament, which is widely seen as a litmus test of whether Berlusconi can cling on as prime minister until 2013.