PARIS — Stock markets advanced today in the run-up to an Italian parliamentary vote that could well determine whether Silvio Berlusconi remains the country’s premier.

Underlying sentiment in the markets remains jittery and could easily swing back and forth on the back of how Berlusconi’s government looks like it will perform at the budget vote later.

Berlusconi’s government is under intense pressure to enact quick reforms to shore up Italy’s defenses against Europe’s raging debt crisis. However, a weak coalition and doubts over Berlusconi’s ability to push through austerity and reforms have heightened the unease in financial markets that Italy could need financial aid.

In a reflection of the uncertainty surrounding Italy’s future, the interest rates it pays to borrow money for ten years spiked at one point Tuesday to 6.74 percent, its highest level since the creation of the euro in 1999.

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