Oct. 2 - Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta survives a confidence vote after Berlusconi promises to support the government in a U-turn only days after he provoked crisis. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta won a confidence vote in the Senate on Wednesday after center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, faced with an imminent party split, backtracked on his threat to bring down the government. The Senate voted 235 to 70 in favor of the government. "Senators present 307, senators voting 305, majority 153, senators in favor 235, senators against 70, senators abstained 0, the Senate approves," the Senate speaker announced the result. Berlusconi's decision leaves Letta in office but opens a series of questions about the already fragmented Italian political landscape, including whether the coalition government will be able to operate normally and pass badly needed economic reforms. The media tycoon's declaration capped a day that veered between high drama and what one centrist politician called a farce, as a flood of defections from his party persuaded the 77-year-old billionaire that there was no point in continuing resistance. Despite this confusion, ministers in Letta's government said they believed the confidence vote would be a positive push forward to the government which could now continue its work in trying to pull Italy out of a crisis. As Berlusconi left the senate crowds gathered outside booed him as he got into his car and drove away.