Angelino Alfano – Silvio Berlusconi’s deputy in the People of Freedom (PDL) and one-time protégé – has urged the party to unite behind the government.
Dozens of senior PDL members reportedly support Alfano’s view – in defiance of Berlusconi’s position, which has been to threaten to topple the fragile coalition government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
Letta is trying to shore up support for a confidence vote in parliament on October 2.
Alfano said: “I am fully convinced that our party as a whole should vote confidence in Letta tomorrow.”
It followed similar calls from other PDL politicians. Senator Carlo Giovanardi told reporters that he was among a group of lawmakers “determined to keep the government in place”.