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Italy opposition boycotts confidence debate

Italy opposition boycotts confidence debate
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Italian opposition parties from the left and centre have boycotted a debate ahead of Friday afternoon’s confidence vote in Silvio Berlusconi’s government.

The embattled prime minister called the vote after his centre-right coalition failed to pass a routine budget provision earlier this week.

Despite widespread criticism over austerity measures, Berlusconi’s personal scandals and handling of the economy, the motion is expected to pass.

But some commentators say government divisions make the outcome uncertain.

This is the 51st confidence vote in Berlusconi’s government since 2008.

Analysts say that even if the 75-year-old premier wins, a new crisis is probably only months away and an early election is likely next spring.

Berlusconi has said the fall of his government would be a victory for those who want to see Italy fall into decline.

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