Letta Rallies Support to Thwart Berlusconi as Stocks Gain

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta is rallying support in parliament before a showdown tomorrow, bolstering his chances of rebuffing Silvio Berlusconi’s bid to topple the government. Stocks surged in Milan.

The 47-year-old premier will get the support of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party in a Senate confidence vote tomorrow, Angelino Alfano, the group’s general secretary, said in a post on Twitter. Most lawmakers from the PDL will back Letta, while the party may eventually split in two, Senator Carlo Giovanardi, a party member, said in an interview.

“The bias of the group is not to make this government fall,” Giovanardi said in Rome. “Many of us said clearly that they would not accept certain things.”

Letta is recovering support less than a week after Berlusconi, a three-time premier, withdrew his backing for the government and ordered five ministers from the PDL, including Alfano, to quit the cabinet. PDL lawmakers in the Senate, where Letta’s majority is most at risk, will meet later today to set their approach, Giovanardi said.

The benchmark FTSEMIB Index jumped 3.1 percent to 17,977 at 5:50 p.m. Italian 10-year bond yields fell 15 basis points to 4.44 percent.

The confidence vote may split the PDL, the second-biggest force in Letta’s three-party coalition. Lawmakers including Lucio Malan and Daniela Santanche had previously promised to resign to show solidarity with the 77-year-old Berlusconi as he fights against proceedings to oust him from the Senate.

Berlusconi, commenting in a letter to the magazine Tempi today, criticized Letta and President Giorgio Napolitano as “unreliable” and reiterated that he will push for snap elections.

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