(REUTERS – October 28th) Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rejected growing speculation today that his fragile centre-right coalition will fall, saying he would serve out his term and implement reform promises made to European Unionpartners.

Speaking by telephone to his own Canale 5 television station, Berlusconi said he ruled out any broad-based government of national unity, which he said would create paralysis for Italy and said an election campaign in the middle of the crisis would be seriously damaging.

“The important thing is to maintain a cohesive majority and government to pass reforms,” he said.

The comments came days after Northern League leader Umberto Bossi said there was a serious risk the government could fall over proposals to raise the pension age as part of reforms demanded by the European Union.

Thousands of pensioners held a protest in central Rome also on Friday.

“It’s time Berlusconi goes home. That guy brings nothing but trouble. As long as he stays there, there is no way Italy can have a restart” said one of them, Antonio Zanchedin, from north-eastern.

“We need a new government. Because this one is bringing us straight into disaster” said another one, Ginetta Padova.

Italy‘s main trade unions, who oppose the reforms promised by the government to the EU, have announced more protests and strikes in the near future.