Berlusconi lawmakers pull out of Italy coalition

Silvio Berlusconi's party formally withdrew its support for Italy's ruling coalition on Tuesday in a widely expected move on the eve of a vote to expel the billionaire tycoon from the Senate.

Berlusconi lawmakers pull out of Italy coalition
Photo: Emilio Andreoli/AFP

"The conditions for continuing our cooperation with this government no longer exist," Paolo Romani, chief senator for Berlusconi's Go Italy (Forza Italia) party, said in a message on Twitter.

The move will not bring down the government as a group of former Berlusconi loyalists earlier this month broke away from the scandal-tainted ex-premier to form their own party.

The New Centre-Right group led by Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano has said it will stay in the coalition with Prime Minister Enrico Letta's centre-left Democratic Party even if Berlusconi is expelled.

Letta's government will now have a much slimmer majority in the Senate of around 10 senators, while it will continue to enjoy strong support in the lower house because of many centre-left lawmakers.

Alfano's party accounts for about 50 parliamentarians.

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