Alexa

Berlusconi insists he can still lead Italy

Berlusconi insists he can still lead Italy

A feisty-sounding Silvio Berlusconi is insisting he commands enough support in the Parliament to enact urgently needed measures to save Italy from financial disaster.
The Italian premier addressed a political gathering Sunday by audio hookup. He said his forces "have the numbers" to pass reforms he promises will jump-start Italy's flat economy and rein in debt. He also dismissed calls in Italy for him to step down to make way for what he calls a "puppet" premier. Defections have weakened his squabbling conservative coalition, but Berlusconi says it's better for the country for him to keep governing than to have early elections.
If his forces lose upcoming votes on the measures, the Italian president could decide it's time for a new government, possibly by widening the coalition.