MILAN The Italian government will continue its reform agenda despite growing political tensions, Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said on Thursday, rebuffing criticism of its handling of the economy by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party withdrew its support for technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti on Thursday, walking out of one confidence vote and announcing it would abstain in another to set up a conflict that could force a snap election.
The 76-year-old billionaire said on Wednesday that Italy was on the "edge of an abyss" because of the austerity policies introduced by Monti.
"I'm not in a position to comment on the decisions of parties that support our government. We are committed to pushing forward with our work," Grilli told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Milan.
(Reporting By Elvira Pollina, writing by Catherine Hornby)