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Tue 14 Dec 2010 12:45 PM

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Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament

Scandals, political infighting and downturn have hurt Silvio Berlusconi's stint as PM

Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi delivers a speech during a debate at the Senate on December 13, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Berlusconi is facing a vote of no confidence from both the Senate and the Lower House. (Getty Images)
Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
Personal scandals, political infighting and the recession have sabotaged Silvio Berlusconi's third stint as Italy's prime minister just two and a half years after a landslide election victory gave him his strongest ever mandate (Getty Images)
Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
When Berlusconi swept to power in 2008 he aimed to show he had completed the transition from showy media tycoon to elder statesman and could finally pass long-overdue reforms of Italy's sluggish economy (Getty Images)
Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
Those hopes have crumbled and the perma-tanned conservative leader now faces a no-confidence motion in parliament that could destroy his government and lead to early elections
Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
Italian Lower house speaker Gianfranco Fini attends a debate for the confidence vote to the Berlusconi's government at the Lower house on December 13, 2010 in Rome, Italy (Getty Images)
Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
Chairman of the Democratic Party Pier Luigi Bersani (L) and his Vice Chairman Dario Franceschini (R) listen during a session on the confidence vote to Berlusconi's government at the Lower House (Getty Images)
Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
At 74, Berlusconi is still a formidable political fighter and a weak centre-left opposition means he could bounce back yet again even if he loses the vote (Getty Images)
Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
Minister for Equal Opportunity Mara Carfagna attends a debate at the Senate on December 13, 2010 in Rome, Italy (Getty Images)
Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
Leader of the Lega Nord Party Umberto Bossi (R) listens during a session on the confidence vote to Berlusconi's government at the Lower House on December 13, 2010 in Rome, Italy (Getty Images)
Berlusconi faces key vote in Italian parliament
If he loses the vote, Berlusconi has said there will be early elections. (Getty Images)