ROME — Silvio Berlusconi is poised to return to power in Italy following the eruption of a parliamentary crisis, which is causing the center-left Italian government to vacillate on the brink of collapse.
The 20-month-old government of Romano Prodi is looking shakier than ever after the small but crucial centrist Udeur party pulled out on Monday in the wake of a corruption investigation, forcing the Italo premier to call a confidence vote that he is not expected to survive.
“I think Prodi is at the end of the line,” Berlusconi said on Tuesday, speaking on the Canale 5 flagship station of his Mediaset empire.
“We must go back to the polls in the spring,” added the Italo TV-tycoon-turned-politician before plugging his plans to lower taxes and resume where he left off in April 2006, when Berlusconi was defeated by Prodi after a five-year stint as Italy’s government leader.
Prodi faces a confidence vote Wednesday in the Chamber of Deputies, where he has a comfortable majority followed by a showdown a few days later in the Senate, where the key ally’s defection leaves him two votes short.
If the government falls, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has the option to install a transitional non-partisan “technical” government to enact electoral reforms prior to elections, which could then take place in the spring. Alternately he can call snap elections.
Berlusconi on Tuesday boasted that his recently renamed Freedom Party has a 40% share of the national vote, according to opinion polls.
Added to the votes of his conservative allies, that would give him a solid majority. Other recent independent Italian opinion polls also give Berlusconi favorable odds of winning an Italo election if it were to be called anytime soon.