UPDATE 1-Italy’s Berlusconi says will see out his term

* Berlusconi confident he will govern until 2013

* PM survived confidence motion by just 3 votes this week

(adds background, context)

By Giuseppe Fonte

BRUSSELS, Dec 17 (BestGrowthStock) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi said on Friday he was certain he would see out his
term in 2013 after narrowly surviving a confidence vote this
week.

Tuesday’s no-confidence motion left the government clinging
on by just three votes and most political commentators predict
early elections next year — two years ahead of time — unless
Berlusconi can broaden his conservative coalition to centrists.

Exuding his trademark confidence, Berlusconi said he would
govern until the end of his term. “I am absolutely certain that
I will complete the legislature,” he told reporters after a
European Union summit. “I am certain I have the numbers.”

The no-confidence motion was put forward by the centre-left
opposition and lawmakers loyal to Gianfranco Fini, the lower
house speaker who bitterly split from Berlusconi last summer.

Fini suffered a humiliating blow as the 74-year-old prime
minister scraped through. But most analysts have called the vote
a Pyrrhic victory for Berlusconi that is unlikely to avert a
fresh crisis in the next few weeks and a snap vote next spring.

The Union of the Centre (UDC), heirs to the old Christian
Democratic Party, have so far rejected Berlusconi’s offer to
join his ruling coalition, closing ranks instead with Fini’s
breakaway Future and Freedom (FLI) group.

Berlusconi denied widespread allegations of vote-buying to
secure the support of wavering rebel deputies in Tuesday’s
motion, with opposition lawmakers describing the atmosphere in
parliament as a “cattle market” or “football transfer season”.

“There was no buying of players, I didn’t offer jobs in
government nor a reward. We only talked common sense,” he said.
(Writing by Silvia Aloisi; editing by Mark Heinrich)

UPDATE 1-Italy’s Berlusconi says will see out his term