Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi’s political rap sheet is already quite appalling, from alleged under-age sexcapades to anti-Semitic jokes. But new allegations by state prosecutors have added another blotch on the billionaire’s bill: He’s accused of buying votes to stay in power. —JCL
The state prosecution service in Rome today opened an investigation into claims that Silvio Berlusconi was buying up MPs before a series of votes in parliament next Tuesday to decide on the future of his government.
The move followed a sharp about-turn late last night when a leading member of Berlusconi’s party, the rightwing People of Freedom party (PdL), announced that the government, which has been without a clear majority for the past five months, could be sure of winning by at least one vote. Just hours before, a senior party source told the Guardian that the billionaire prime minister’s chances of survival were no better than 50/50.
News also emerged of the latest of up to eight defections by MPs previously considered to be either in opposition or non-aligned.