(AP) Premier Enrico Letta is seeking confidence votes in Parliament amid a divisive split in Silvio Berlusconi's party that could at least temporarily save Italy's fragile ruling coalition.
Letta was briefing both chambers of parliament Wednesday on his plans to restart Italy's moribund economy in a last-ditch attempt to persuade enough lawmakers to defy Berlusconi's call to bring down the government. The key vote is in the Senate, where Berlusconi's allies have a narrow majority.
But Berlusconi's People of Freedom party has been thrown into chaos, with his closest ally and political heir Angelino Alfano openly defying him and saying he would support the government.
Berlusconi demanded Alfano and his four other ministers quit Letta's government ahead of a vote Friday that could strip the former premier of his Senate seat.