Italian Premier Survives No-Confidence Vote, Barely Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has survived a no-confidence vote in parliament, but with the slimmest of margins. His center-right government defeated the opposition motion by just three votes, amid widespread media reports of parliamentarians being offered money and business opportunities, or even being intimidated into changing their votes.
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Italian Premier Survives No-Confidence Vote, Barely

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Italian Premier Survives No-Confidence Vote, Barely

Italian Premier Survives No-Confidence Vote, Barely

Italian Premier Survives No-Confidence Vote, Barely

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/132060850/132060828" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has survived a no-confidence vote in parliament, but with the slimmest of margins. His center-right government defeated the opposition motion by just three votes, amid widespread media reports of parliamentarians being offered money and business opportunities, or even being intimidated into changing their votes.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

U: (Shouting in Italian)

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: The baroque squares of Rome look like scenes of guerrilla warfare. White tear gas and orange flares engulf streets as riot police try to disperse demonstrators. Rome was lit up by police vans set on fire. At 6 p.m. it was eerily quiet. Streets were covered with debris. Lia Seberini(ph) is a middle-aged woman who saw it all.

BLOCK: (Speaking Italian)

POGGIOLI: While violence broke out on the streets, tensions exploded inside the lower house, as lawmakers pushed and shoved each other, forcing a brief suspension. Before casting their votes, deputies were each given time to explain their actions. The most scathing was Antonio Di Pietro, a former magistrate who says Berlusconi will do anything to avoid his trials for corruption.

BLOCK: (through translator) Why don't you turn yourself in like an ordinary Noriega and be judged by your peers.

POGGIOLI: Suddenly, Berlusconi got up to leave.

BLOCK: (through translator) You coward. Do not flee. Look at that - a prime minister who's escaping, going off to hide in the Bahamas.

POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.

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