Inspirational Dini routs Berlusconi

Lamberto Dini pulled his government dramatically back from the brink yesterday, facing down his adversaries with a stirring speech to Parliament and beating off a no-confidence motion by a handful of votes.

A last-minute change of heart in his favour by the far-left Rifondazione Comunista followed a series of last-minute negotiations to ward off a full-blown government crisis. Mr Dini won 310-291 and now has breathing- space to see the 1996 budget, crucial in the battle to bring down the soaring public deficit, pass through Parliament.

"This is a crisis which the country does not deserve, which economic conditions do not permit, and which in the light of the needs of the people is irresponsible," he said during a spirited 45-minute address to the Chamber of Deputies.

Mr Dini's victory was a blow to his predecessor and chief detractor, Silvio Berlusconi, whose conservative Freedom Alliance had called the no-confidence motion following a dispute over the dismissal of the Justice Minister, Filippo Mancuso. Mr Berlusconi had accused Mr Dini of plotting to get rid of Mr Mancuso for political ends.

He now has no chance of leading his coalition into general elections before the start of his trial on corruption charges on 16 January and must face a growing chorus of dissenters anxious to replace him as the centre-right's prime ministerial candidate.

Mr Dini's non-political government, installed nine months ago to break the deadlock created by the collapse of Mr Berlusconi's administration, had seemed doomed because the no-confidence motion was supported by the Freedom Alliance and Rifondazione Comunista, which together outnumber the pro-government centre-left parties.

Rifondazione has consistently opposed Mr Dini's budget proposals, saying they were against the interests of the Italian working-class. But the determination of its leader, Fausto Bertinotti, to undermine the Dini government faltered, say political sources, when he realised he would be deprived of all electoral alliances with the mainstream left, alienate his grassroots supporters and risk losing half his 24 deputies at the next general election.

Mr Dini persuaded Rifondazione to abstain from voting in exchange for a commitment, made in his speech, that he would resign by the end of the year. This was not much of a concession, since he has always said he would resign as soon as he had completed the four key tasks he had been mandated to carry out. Only one - the television airtime accorded parties during election campaigns - is still outstanding.

Mr Dini won wide praise for the combative, statesman-like style of his speech. In particular, he demolished one by one a series of allegations of bad faith levelled at him and at President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro by Mr Mancuso.

He was also confident enough to raise the prospect of renewing his mandate to rewrite the country's electoral laws and see Italy through its six- month presidency of the European Union, which starts on 1 January. "If no consensus for this emerges, we could at least pass the budget and then head for elections in a more relaxed atmosphere," he added.

Mr Dini is not entirely out of the woods, however. Mr Berlusconi could still threaten to oppose the budget when it comes up for parliamentary approval in the next few weeks - this time with the certain backing of Rifondazione Comunista. It would be a high-risk strategy, since many of Mr Berlusconi's more moderate supporters have already publicly backed the budget.

Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MS Dynamics NAV Developer

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: **MS Dynamics N...

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

1st line call logger/ User access administrator

£9 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Warrington a...

Shine Night Walk 2014 - 'On the night' volunteer roles

Unpaid Voluntary Work : Cancer Research UK: We need motivational volunteers to...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star