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Italian press write off Berlusconi but alternative unclear

Italian press write off Berlusconi but alternative unclear
Sat Nov 5, 2011 11:59am EDT

* After disastrous G20, Berlusconi focuses on survival

* Majority in doubt for key vote on Tuesday

* Press calls for him to quit intensify

By Gavin Jones

ROME, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Italy’s press were writing off Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday, with even pro-government newspapers admitting his situation looked desperate after a humiliating Group of 20 summit and the latest sell-off of Italy’s bonds.

With reports of numerous defections from his ruling coalition, Berlusconi could fall at any time — perhaps as soon as a key vote in parliament on Tuesday. But, with no obvious alternative majority, what follows remains highly uncertain.

Italy’s loss of credibility was a recurring theme in the press, following news that the International Monetary Fund will visit Rome quarterly to check up on its reform pledges, and a rise in bond yields to a record high on Friday.

“It is rare to hear a global summit talking about a country’s loss of credibility and it is sad to see that this is what is happening to Italy,” wrote the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore under the headline: “On the edge of the abyss”.

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