Jonathan Jones

Berlusconi on the brink

Berlusconi on the brink
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Silvio Berlusconi no longer has the support of the majority of Italy's MPs. That big budget vote was passed an hour ago, but only because 321 of the 630 members of the lower house didn't vote. Just 308 supported the Prime Minister, leaving him eight votes short of a majority and suggesting he'd lose a confidence vote.

This is a result that the global economy could've done without, when the need is to move on from Italy's political problems and start to deal with its economic ones. The yield on Italian bonds, which had settled down earlier after soaring to the euro-era high this morning, have now shot back up again. Marc Chandler of US investment bank Brown Brothers Harriman told Reuters:

'Basically this is the worst possible combination of events – he wins the vote but doesn't get the majority.'

said

With members of his own government calling for him to resign – and now no parliamentary majority – Berlusconi's exit is looking increasingly inevitable. But, for now, he's clinging on.