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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Media detect Berlusconi weakness
The resignation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government amid coalition infighting draws a mixed response from Italian dailies.

Some of the comment is along partisan lines with one left-wing commentator talking of the "pantomime" of the government crisis.

Even papers which take a more sympathetic line see major difficulties ahead for the embattled Mr Berlusconi.

The truth is that the coalition's problems risk blowing up
Corriere della Sera

"It remains to be seen if and how Berlusconi can disentangle himself from this crisis now that his resignation has weakened him further," says Corriere della Sera.

"The truth is that the coalition's problems risk blowing up."

The paper reports that despite Mr Berlusconi's public assurances of a speedy agreement with his allies on a new cabinet, the premier's close aides have admitted there is still much work to be done.

'Shipwreck'

Italy's leading left-wing daily, La Repubblica, speaks of the "sensational failure of Berlusconi-ism".

"The man who on Monday said he would 'never bend himself to political rituals' in the space of a morning or two agreed to shipwreck himself in one of the most grotesque about-turns in the pure pantomime of politics," says a commentary on its front page.

Another commentator writing in the same paper says that at this point "early elections would be the best and fairest solution" but no-one in the erstwhile coalition "seems ready to risk them".

Even if the current talks to form a new government succeed, the writer says, the centre-right's resounding defeat in regional polls earlier this month was a clear indication of what is to come in parliamentary elections due to take place next year.

"Another year of Berlusconi-led government will not save the centre-right," is the verdict.

'Tensions'

According to Rome daily Il Messaggero the crisis marks "the explosion of tensions that have smouldered in the coalition for the past two years".

The paper reports that two key coalition parties are pushing for Mr Berlusconi to replace Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli - a senior member of the Northern League - believing that defeat in the regional elections was also a rejection of the League's federalist designs.

La Stampa sees convincing the Northern League to cede the ministry as "the real obstacle" on the way to Mr Berlusconi reassembling his coalition government.

It says the embattled premier will try to wrap up negotiations with his fractious allies and present a new cabinet list by Saturday morning.

It this does not happen, "the crisis will drag on into next week".

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




SEE ALSO:
Berlusconi loses coalition ally
15 Apr 05 |  Europe
Q&A: Italy regional elections
01 Apr 05 |  Europe


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