ROME: Italian centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi pulled his ministers out of the cabinet yesterday, effectively bringing down the government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta and leaving the euro-zone’s third-largest economy in chaos.
Talks will now start to find a new parliamentary majority to back a new cabinet and avoid going back to elections just seven months after the last one.
The relentless political jockeying that has defined Letta’s five-month tenure has already thwarted efforts to push through important reforms Italy needs to emerge from a two-year recession, a decade-long economic lethargy, a 2-trillion-euro public debt and youth unemployment of around 40 percent.
The resignations will delay those reforms even further.
They came a day after Letta challenged Berlusconi’s party to support him in a confidence vote in parliament.
Late on Friday, the cabinet failed to agree vital fiscal measures to bring the budget deficit within European Union limits, leaving the fragile coalition of traditional rivals from the left and right near total breakdown.
Tensions between the two sides had been rising for weeks following moves to expel Berlusconi from parliament after his conviction for tax fraud last month.