ROME (Reuters) – Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Thursday a new centre-right government that would sweep the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement from power could be formed even without a snap election.
The 5-Star created a coalition government last June with Berlusconi’s traditional ally the League after the centre-right failed to win a majority in national elections.
However, Berlusconi, leader of Forza Italia (Go Italy!), told Corriere della Sera daily that a new majority could be shaped in parliament if his party joined forces with the League, the far-right Brothers of Italy and some 5-Star dissidents.
The centre-right fell some 50 seats short of a majority in the lower house and political analysts have always questioned previous assertions by Berlusconi that he could find the numbers needed to win a vote of confidence.
“We are ready (to face new elections). However many think that if this government fell apart, a new majority would emerge, different from the current one and able to support a centre-right government without going back to the ballot box. We’ll see,” Berlusconi was quoted as saying.
Tensions have recently been rising between the League and 5-Star over an array of issues and many newspapers have speculated that the coalition will not survive the year.
Adding to the government’s problems, 5-Star recently expelled two senators from the party last month, weakening its fragile majority in the upper house.
(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Crispian Balmer)