Former Berlusconi ally Fini urges Italian PM to resign

image caption, Mr Fini's new party held its first convention in Perugia on 7 November

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been told to step down, by a former ally and rival who led a revolt against him earlier this year.

Gianfranco Fini told a rally of his new Freedom and Future party that the prime minister should start negotiations about forming a new government.

He repeatedly attacked Mr Berlusconi who has faced a string of revelations, some involving a teenaged girl released by police after his intervention.

Mr Berlusconi says he will not resign.

Mr Fini, the speaker of the Italian parliament, whose breakaway group backed the prime minister in a confidence vote in September, said he was prepared to continue in alliance with Mr Berlusconi.

But, he said, the nature of the coalition and the make-up of the government should be reconsidered.

"We can't go on in this way," Mr Fini told thousands of supporters at a conference in Perugia.

He complained of a "moral decadence" in Italian society and said that public figures should set an example.

In recent days, the prime minister has denounced "disgusting and indecent attacks" on him, blaming the allegations on "certain prosecutors".

Last week, a former Milan police chief was questioned by prosecutors about the decision to release a teenaged girl arrested for theft, after a call was received from the prime minister's office.

Newspapers have also reported allegations made by a prostitute who said she had visited the prime minister's luxury villa on the island of Sardinia.

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