Parliament showdown looms for Italy PM Letta
ROME (AP) - Premier Enrico Letta was putting his government's survival to confidence votes in Parliament on Wednesday amid a divisive split in Silvio Berlusconi's party that could at least temporarily save his fragile ruling coalition.
Mr Letta warned Senators that Italy "runs a risk, a fatal risk" depending on the choices they make. It was a last-ditch attempt to persuade enough lawmakers to defy Berlusconi's call to bring down the government. The key vote is in the Senate, where Berlusconi's allies have a narrow majority.
But Berlusconi's People of Freedom party has been thrown into chaos, with several lawmakers and his closest ally and political heir Angelino Alfano openly defying him and saying they would support the government.
Berlusconi demanded Mr Alfano and his four other ministers quit Mr Letta's government ahead of a vote on Friday that could strip the former premier of his Senate seat following his tax fraud conviction and four-year prison sentence.