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Key ally issues ultimatum to Italian premier

Key ally issues ultimatum to Italian premier
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In Italy, at the Northern League party’s annual rally, its leader has issued an ultimatum to the Italian premier.

With two recent crushing defeats in local elections, Silvio Berlusconi depends heavily on the support of the pro-devolution, anti-immigration party.

Its leader Umberto Bossi, a key ally of Berlusconi, fired off a stark warning. Addressing his supporters he said: “Berlusconi’s leadership could end at the next elections if he doesn’t listen to our demands positively. Because with Berlusconi, finally, we have achieved good things”

Among those demands are more power to the regions, pulling Italian military forces out of Libya and reforms to lower the tax burden for small firms.

The rally had been seen as a test of the solidity of Berlusconi’s coalition ahead of expected announcements on tax reforms and deficit reduction plans in coming weeks.

Despite the Northern League calls to move some ministries from Rome to the north, the rally has been seen as a sign of support for Berlusconi’s struggling centre-right government.