Friday

9th Dec 2016

Monti majority dented amid speculation of Berlusconi comeback

  • Back in the game? Silvio Berlusconi has suggested he may return to politics. (Photo: European Parliament)

Italian borrowing costs spiked on Thursday (6 December) as ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi's party boycotted the government of technocrat PM Mario Monti, fuelling speculation about the media mogul's comeback and possible early elections.

Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party walked out of a Senate vote on a package of economic measures and abstained in a separate vote in the lower house, depriving Monti of his majority. The bills were narrowly passed, however, as there were enough PDL members in the room to ensure the necessary quorum, even if they abstained.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Parliamentarians asked Monti to consult with the country's president and possibly call votes of confidence in both chambers to see if there is enough parliamentary support for the government or if early elections need to be held.

"We have to understand if it was an abstention on a single vote or a broader political abstention," said Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani.

If the government loses the confidence vote, early elections could be held in January or February.

But President Giorgio Napolitano sought to downplay the meaning of the vote and said he wants to avoid a "turbulent" end to Monti's technocratic government.

"There are pre-electoral political tensions that even outside Italy can be understood without causing alarm about the institutional strength of our country," he said.

Berlusconi resigned a year ago under market and EU leaders' pressure and has so far said he would not run again. But on Wednesday, the 76-year old media magnate suggested a comeback is not off the table.

"I am being assailed by requests to return to the field as soon as possible. Italy today is on the edge of a cliff. I cannot allow this," he said.

His party has plummeted to 13.9 percent in an Ipsos poll published on Wednesday, down from 22 percent in September, while the Democratic Party has a comfortable lead at 36.1 percent.

A date for general elections has not been fixed yet, but they must take place by April. Berlusconi's machinations suggest he may want to bring down the government and hold elections in February, DPA's Rome correspondent reports.

Thursday's boycott may also be just a tit-for-tat move after one of Monti's technocrat ministers, Corrado Passera, warned against the return of the scandal-prone former premier.

"Anything which can make the rest of the world or our partners imagine that we are turning back is not a good thing for Italy," Passera told RAI tv.

Italy starts talks on post-Renzi government

Italian power-brokers begin efforts to form a new government, amid growing concern over the fragile banking system and calls from opposition parties for a general election.

News in Brief

  1. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  2. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  3. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  4. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  5. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  6. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  7. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe
  8. French ex-minister jailed for tax fraud

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to use Bioenergy Coming from Forests in a Sustainable Way ?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First