A potentially key development now seems to confirm our first impression. Carlo Giovanardi, a centre-right Senator and a senior member of Silvio Berlusconi's party (see picture), has just confirmed earlier rumours that a new pro-Letta group of 'rebel' centre-right senators is to be formed, and will support the government tomorrow.
"We do have the numbers [to form a new group], we are even more than 40, and we firmly want to maintain the balance of the government. This is why we will give [Letta] our vote of confidence."Clearly a game-changer. If this new group comes through with the votes, then Letta will have a much bigger chance of winning the vote of confidence and staying in power.
Equally significantly, if Berlusconi keeps pushing for a showdown but Letta ends up winning the confidence vote thanks to defectors from Il Cavaliere's party, this will almost inevitably have consequences for the future of the centre-right in Italy.
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