Berlusconi Keeps Government Afloat — for Now

My piece on the Berlusconi’s parliamentary confidence vote has just been published by Time.

As far as birthday presents go, it wasn’t a bad one. On Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi survived a parliamentary vote of confidence, giving new life to his governing coalition after a summer of acrimonious infighting.

But as his closest allies raised their glasses to the Prime Minister’s 74 years later that night, the prosecco might have tasted a little flat. Berlusconi had hoped the vote would demonstrate that he no longer needed the group of rebel parliamentarians who broke with his party in July, but have since pledge conditional support. Instead, the result revealed just how dependent his government is on their cooperation. “It’s not just about stability,” says Allesandro Campi, director of Fare Futoro, a think tank closely linked to the rebels. “Formally, Berlusconi has the majority. The problem is: Will he politically be able to govern?”

Read the rest.