January 31, 2019 / 9:16 AM / in 3 months

Italy's Berlusconi says new government possible even without snap vote

FILE PHOTO: Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi speaks following a talk with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale palace in Rome, Italy, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

ROME (Reuters) - Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Thursday a new center-right government that would sweep the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement from power could be formed even without a snap election.

The 5-Star created a coalition government last June with Berlusconi’s traditional ally the League after the center-right failed to win a majority in national elections.

However, Berlusconi, leader of Forza Italia (Go Italy!), told Corriere della Sera daily that a new majority could be shaped in parliament if his party joined forces with the League, the far-right Brothers of Italy and some 5-Star dissidents.

The center-right fell some 50 seats short of a majority in the lower house and political analysts have always questioned previous assertions by Berlusconi that he could find the numbers needed to win a vote of confidence.

“We are ready (to face new elections). However many think that if this government fell apart, a new majority would emerge, different from the current one and able to support a center-right government without going back to the ballot box. We’ll see,” Berlusconi was quoted as saying.

Tensions have recently been rising between the League and 5-Star over an array of issues and many newspapers have speculated that the coalition will not survive the year.

Adding to the government’s problems, 5-Star recently expelled two senators from the party last month, weakening its fragile majority in the upper house.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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