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Top ally splits from Berlusconi; Italian government strengthened

  • Italy's government appears to be a bit more stable after Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, the former secretary of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, formed a new grouping called the New Center-Right and said it would stay in the coalition government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
  • Alfano made the move as he doesn't support Berlusconi's push for early elections due to the latter's likely expulsion from the Senate following his conviction for tax fraud in August.
  • Alfano, who took 30 Senators with him, has enough strength to stop Berlusconi from bringing down the government; he said the coalition would push forward with plans to reform the economy and the electoral system.
  • The soap opera that is Italian politics has every so often caused turmoil in the markets since Berlusconi's conviction, although investors have tended to shrug of recent developments.
  • ETFs: Stocks: EWI. Bonds: ITLT, ITLY
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