Moments ago, Italy's most popular politician flip-flopped on his threats from the past weekend to take down the country's government, and after realizing he does not have enough support even in his own party to push for early elections and a vote of no confidence for prime minister Letta, Berlusconi announced his party will vote to support the government of the current Premier, a major turnabout that signals he was defeated in his efforts to bring down the government.
In brief remarks Wednesday before the confidence vote, Berlusconi said: "Italy needs a government that can produce structural and institutional reforms that the country needs to modernize. We have decided, not without internal strife, to vote in confidence."
It was a huge setback for Berlusconi. He had demanded his five Cabinet ministers quit the government and bring it down. He is incensed at a vote planned Friday that could strip him of his Senate seat following his tax fraud conviction and four-year prison sentence.
And like that, Italy's latest political crisis is averted if only for the time being.