Silvio Berlusconi says he will stay in office until the end of his term in 2013. On Tuesday, the Italian Prime Minister won a vote of confidence in the first test of his strength since losses in two recent elections. His government’s victory in the confidence vote came by only 24 votes.
Speaking to parliament on Wednesday, the premier was bullish, saying: “We have a majority, it’s strong and cohesive, and it’s the only one that can govern the country at such a tough time. I want to reassert our intention to complete our programme by 2013, the end of our legislature.”
The prime minister still faces plummeting approval ratings. Protesters outside the parliament building in Rome shouted slogans urging Berlusconi to resign. He will soon face a bigger challenge. In order to eliminate the budget deficit by 2014, Berlusconi’s government has to implement austerity measures worth 40 billion euros.