With a majority of just three votes in Italy’s Camera dei Deputati (house) and a stronger majority in the senate, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived today’s vote of confidence, much to the anger and surprise of many Italian citizens and to the confused eyes around the world.
Berlusconi, Italy’s parliamentary phoenix who has emerged from the flames of governmental collapse at least three times, has proven himself a true political Teflon Don. Today’s win showcases his uncanny ability to remain front and center in Italy’s government and newspapers. Though the victor, according to ANSA, Berlusconi is “hanging by a thread” and may potentially face another vote in Spring 2010.
For today’s polemical vote, Rome’s historic center was cordoned of as a red zone– police blockades, no traffic, and limited pedestrian movement- and thus was practically oblivious to the parades of protesters circumnavigating the perimeter in heated demonstration. Riot gear was raised and tear gas thrown. Not quite the gift Italians were expecting this year.
UPDATE: In the north Tridente area, Piazza del Popolo, groups were throwing large cobblestones and shops closed anti-theft gates to protect from chaos.
Silvio scrapes through confidence votes (Telegraph)
Berlusconi Narrowly Survives Vote of Confidence (New York Times)
Berlusconi survives no-confidence votes (Financial Times)