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Berlusconi wins vote of confidence
The prime minister stays in power
Article added in Naples, Italy, on October 14, 2011 at 14:26; detail about abstentions added at 17:01
  
Berlusconi wins the 51st vote of confidence since he reassumed power in 2008. The Italian prime minister stays in power. 316 parliamentarians voted yes and 301 no in the Lower House (Camera) confidence vote today. 13 members of parliament abstained from voting.

In a 20-minute speech asking for a vote of confidence for today, the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi showed his
serious side yesterday; the opposition largely boycotted the parliamentary session. In his speech of October 13, he acknowledged the error made by his governing majority. It lacked one vote to approve the accountability report, which is mandatory and related to the budget. It was embarrassing for Berlusconi because, along with other seventeen members of parliament, his important allies, the Northern League boss Umberto Bossi as well Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti missed the vote, fueling the speculation regarding the stability of the government.

On October 13, Berlusconi said that,
“on a political level, there is no credible alternative to this government.” He was right in the sense that the opposition is divided. However, he forgot to mention that above all, it is a shame for the ruling coalition, Italy's center right, to be unable to come up with a credible alternative to the corrupted and incompetent prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

The left has been in power twice in the past 20 years and showed its incapacity to govern. Unfortunately, Berlusconi, who has been in power for most of that period, is no better. His main achievement is political stability. But at what price!

Berlusconi made clear he would not step down if he lost the vote of confidence. “If the government and its leader lose the majority, it's up to the voters to decide again.” Some suggested that a caretaker government made up of experts should take over. But the prime minister said he would remain in power until early elections took place. However, he was confident to win the crucial Lower House vote.

Berlusconi claimed that although his government had inherited a high debt, thanks to his government's actions, Italy had a deficit lower than its neighbors, that it even had a primary surplus before interest payments making it top of the class. Berlusconi said that Italy's productive system had encountered low growth in recent years, but that it was also true that Italy had zones economically comparable to and even superior to Germany's Bavaria.

He continued stating that Italy's problems were known: the lack of healthy investments producing jobs in Southern Italy, but that Italy's unemployment rate was lower than in neighboring countries. He added that Italy's shadow economy was a problem and that, therefore, a radical fiscal reform was needed also to fight fiscal evasion. The inefficient bureaucracy was a well-know problem, resulting even in the repression of Italy's citizens and enterprises. He asserted that the justice system worked too slowly, taking far too long to take decisions. Everyone was aware of Italy's infrastructure problems, especially in comparison with its main neighbors; he referred to a study claiming that Italy would have to increase its budget by 34% to improve its logistics infrastructure, neglected in the past 30 years. Berlusconi mentioned Italy's labor union problem.

Berlusconi affirmed in his speech that Italy would balance its budget by 2013. He asked for a reform of the justice system in order to prevent it from being used for political objectives. He claimed to be a victim of left-wing judges. He is  partly right. But only partly. In any decent democracy, he would have been discharged a long time ago or even sit in jail.


After Berlusconi, Carolina Lussana (Lega Nord) asked to implement the Lega's “federalism” claims, which would bring responsibility and control to the budgets and therefore bring the Italian debt down, she claimed. Berlusconi's ally, the Lega, has asked for more federalism for almost two decades, but nothing has fundamentally changed in Berlusconi's years in power.

When will this farce end?


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