Italy in new crisis as centre-right ministers resign
ROME (AFP) - Centre-right ministers on Saturday resigned from Italy's fragile coalition government, unleashing a fresh political crisis after what Prime Minister Enrico Letta called a "crazy act" of encouragement by their leader Silvio Berlusconi.
All five ministers of the People of Freedom (PDL) party took the decision at Berlusconi's urging, said Angelino Alfano, Italy's deputy premier and PDL party secretary.
The flamboyant former prime minister had dismissed as "unacceptable" a demand by Mr Letta on Friday for parliament to express support for the government next week, in a bid to end a crisis that has driven the bickering ruling coalition to the brink of collapse.
Mr Letta's government was cobbled together following a two-month stand-off after an inconclusive general election in February, and while the government has launched major reforms, it has been hobbled by the tensions.