Italy's Berlusconi fights for political survival

October 13, 2011 - 4:40 AM

ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi appealed to lawmakers to support his government in a confidence vote, saying that his government is the only "credible alternative."

Berlusconi defended his government in a 15-minute address Thursday, a day before a vote of confidence that will test if the premier retains a majority in Parliament. The crisis was provoked when lawmakers this week blocked routine legislation, raising calls from the opposition for his immediate resignation.

The test comes at a crucial moment for Italy, which is under pressure to come up with growth-promoting measures to avert being dragged into the widening sovereign debt crisis. Italy has one of the eurozone's highest public debt ratios, at nearly 120 percent of gross domestic product.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is preparing to address Parliament in a move to save his government.

Berlusconi will seek to defend his government's agenda in a crucial address Thursday, a day before a vote of confidence that will test if the premier retains a majority in Parliament. The crisis was provoked when lawmakers this week blocked routine legislation, raising calls from the opposition for his immediate resignation.

The test comes at a crucial moment for Italy, which is under pressure to come up with growth-promoting measures to avert being dragged into the widening sovereign debt crisis. Italy has one of the eurozone's highest public debt ratios, at nearly 120 percent of gross domestic product.