No sign of movement on the U.S. government shutdown but in Italy, party talks have been running red hot, keeping Italian markets in thrall.
Yesterday, senior figures in Silvio Berlusconi’s PDL party urged their colleagues to defy the former premier and back Prime Minister Enrico Letta in a parliamentary confidence vote expected today. Most tellingly, the media mogul’s key ally, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, called on the party to back Letta.
Now nothing is certain in Italian politics and sources close to Letta say he will not call a vote if the numbers aren’t there, and could resign instead. But given he has a firm grip on the lower house, if even some PDL members support him in the Senate he should win the vote.
He needs a minimum of 20 from the other side to back him. One PDL source told us about 30 party senators could back him and some in the anti-establishment Five Star movement could also lend their support.
Caveats? Plenty as usual. Letta has already said scraping through would be insufficient to continue a government tasked with economic reform. So he needs solid cross-party support to be able to function and, crucially, pass a 2014 budget bill.