Berlusconi plays numbers game

There comes a time in every Italian political crisis when it seems only divine intervention can offer a solution. With the lira trading at record lows against the German mark, and investor confidence in Italy plummeting, the stakes are growing hig her bythe day.

Ciao, Signor Berlusconi?

The brave new world of Silvio Berlusconi lasted just seven months. In this respect his government resembled those of the old regime. This was not how it was supposed to be. Mr Berlusconi promised a break with the past, an Italian miracle. But he has always been a deeply ambiguous figure: a quintessential product of the old system who sought to become the architect of the new.

Berlusconi `at the end of the line'

Rome - Umberto Bossi, the leader of the Northern League, claimed yesterday to have the support to bring down Silvio Berlusconi's government and form a new ruling alliance.

Very model of a modern fascist leader

Gianfranco Fini's hour may be at hand

League's anti-trust blueprint targets Italy PM

The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, came under attack from within his own coalition yesterday as his Northern League allies put forward proposals that would force him to choose between office and business interests.

Leading Article: The net closes on Berlusconi

THE CONFLICT between the magistrates and the Berlusconi government is rapidly reaching the point of no return. When Francesco Borrelli, the Milan chief prosecutor, declared that his investigations had reached the pinnacle of politics and business, the implication was clear: Silvio Berlusconi himself is now under threat. The conflict between them first came to a head in July when Mr Berlusconi tried to limit the powers of the magistrates. The resulting public outcry forced him to retreat.

Cabinet backs Berlusconi in row with judge

THE ITALIAN cabinet met in special session yesterday to decide its official reply to the unprecedented attack launched on the Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, by one of the country's most senior anti-corruption judges.

One hundred days of chaos: The lira plummets, neo-fascists gain ground, coalition partners are in revolt, but Silvio Berlusconi still says Italy has never had it so good. Michael Sheridan on the crisis closing in on Rome's 53rd post-war government

Silvio Berlusconi would have preferred to celebrate his first 100 days in power by the limpid azure sea off Sardinia, improving his apparently permanent suntan in the undemanding company of his show-business friends. Instead, beset by political, economic and legal troubles, he flew back to his well guarded villa in northern Italy. He summoned television crews for set-piece interviews - the Prime Minister's favourite method of reaching the people. 'Let's roll up our sleeves together for a future of prosperity and freedom,' he told them. 'Relax and enjoy the holidays. Italy's never had it so good.'

Berlusconi faces crisis as lira falls

STORM clouds gathered over the government of Silvio Berlusconi yesterday, as a crisis of confidence on the financial markets sent the lira crashing out of control and members of the coalition hurled bitter accusations at one another.

Former PM Spadolini dies

Rome - Giovanni Spadolini, a former Italian prime minister and Republican Party leader, died yesterday, aged 69. He was one of a handful of post-war Italian politicians untouched by the country's corruption scandals. Reuter

Golden boy loses his shine: Silvio Berlusconi is finding that his recipe for business success can leave a nasty taste in the political arena

THAT SLY old fox of Italian politics, Giulio Andreotti, was fond of saying (to explain his apparent immortality): 'Power only wears out those who don't have it.'

Leading Article: Curtain rises on an Italian farce

SILVIO Berlusconi took office as Prime Minister of Italy barely three months ago on a promise of change. He is a media magnate who achieved political power through a brilliant marketing campaign and the ruthless use of his private television stations. Predictably, his government is already in a mess.

Berlusconi pressures minister

ROME - Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, demanded yesterday that his Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, withdraw comments on a highly controversial government decree on corruption, or resign. Mr Berlusconi made his demand amid statements by judicial officials that 15 per cent of the 1,050 people released from prison between Thursday and Saturday as a result of the Biondi decree were wanted for alleged corruption offences.

Italian politician boogies on down: Rome's Interior Minister can't bring himself to give up the nightclub job, writes Patricia Clough

THE 1,500 people bopping away at the Val Bossa hockey club thrash in Varese did not take too much notice of the cat with the dark glasses, hockey cap and five-day stubble who churned out Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Otis Redding favourites on his electric organ. He was just part of the local scene.

Bossi stays apart

Umberto Bossi, leader of one of three parties in Italy's right-wing governing alliance, yesterday rejected demands by the Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, that the parties merge into one, AFP reports from Pontida.
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