Government problems can be overcome, premier says

Letta to meet PdL secretary and deputy PM Alfano on Wednesday

Government problems can be overcome, premier says

Vienna, August 21 - The government's problems can be overcome despite a looming showdown over centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi's chances of ejection from the Senate, Italian Premier Enrico Letta told a joint press conference with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon Letta is scheduled to meet Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, secretary of Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, which has set a 10-day deadline for saving the three-time premier's seat. Letta leads an unprecedented left-right government made up of members from his own centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and Berlusconi party members led by Alfano who is deputy premier and interior minister. The ex-premier's lawmakers have warned they could topple the government over their leader's first-ever definitive criminal conviction on August 1 for tax fraud which came with a ban from public office. The Senate is scheduled to vote on September 9 on ratifying the ban for the media magnate. The four-year prison sentence was commuted to one year of community service or house arrest because of an amnesty and due to his age. "I think our country has great opportunities ahead, I trust the sense of responsibility and foresight of all", Letta also said Wednesday.

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