Politics

Dec 7, 2012 11:00 AM by Lauren Molenburg

Italy's Berlusconi puts pressure on new PM Monti

ROME (AP) - Although Italy's Silvio Berlusconi resigned in disgrace a year ago, has been convicted of tax fraud and now faces plunging poll numbers, the media baron is showing he still has the power to put pressure on his successor, Premier Mario Monti.

With Europe still deep in its debt crisis, it doesn't take much to make the markets nervous. That's what happened Thursday when the 76-year-old Berlusconi withdrew his party's support for Monti's government, threatening a premature end to its ambitious reform program.

Economists for Unicredit, Italy's largest bank, say the decision was "significant and tends to confirm that the next few months will be bumpy" for Monti, with the possibility now looming of an early election before the expected date in March.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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