Italy’s great survivor clings to power

Silvio Berlusconi must have strong fingernails. Amid violence on Rome’s streets and fisticuffs in its parliament, Italy’s prime minister has clung on to power by the narrowest of margins. On Tuesday, he defeated a no-confidence motion by 314 votes to 311. This is a bad result for all concerned.Mr Berlusconi may strive to portray himself as the winner of this week’s intrigue. But he has won nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory. He has lost his absolute majority in the lower house of parliament; a substantial number of his former colleagues now sit in opposition. This will make governing all but impossible. With European debt markets on edge, Italy could do without an impaired political decision-making process.

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