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Berlusconi Government Coalition Unraveling


Italy's coalition government is on the brink of unraveling one week after it was badly beaten in regional elections.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi held a crisis meeting Thursday. At the meeting, Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini pushed for a no-confidence vote and another partner, the Christian Democrats, threatened to withdraw from the coalition.

The prime minister's political allies are concerned about a dismal economy, unhappy about election results and unsure that he has a plan that can reverse Italy's fortunes.

Italy's involvement in the Iraq war has also been unpopular.

Mr. Berlusconi is resisting calls for early elections following losses in 11 of 13 regional races last week and has offered, instead, to reshuffle his cabinet and present a new program to parliament.

He is Italy's longest-serving post-World War II prime minister.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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