Berlusconi party at risk as splinter group formed

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Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister has announced he is leaving Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right faction. Angelino Alfano will form a new party that will back Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s fragile coalition.

It’s another political setback for Berlusconi. It comes on the eve of a meeting at which he will rebrand his PDL party as Forza Italia. That’s the original name of his political movement.

Tensions within the centre-right have been festering since Berlusconi’s tax fraud conviction in August. The media mogul maintains the move was purely political.

Letta’s government tried to get him kicked out of the Senate on the grounds of the conviction. Berlusconi responded by attempting to destroy the Coalition by withdrawing from it.

The tentative name of Alfano’s new breakaway party will be the “New
Centre-Right”. The group will take enough votes with it to keep the government coalition alive until 2015.

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