Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi is facing his 54th confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday, amid rumours he will step down as a result of the country's looming debt crisis. (Photo: Reuters)

The beleaguered Italian Prime minister has had a colourful and controversial career, and has survived 53 confidence votes since returning to power in 2008. Can he do it again?

April 2008: Silvio Berlusconi is elected Prime Minister for the third time. He previously served in the role from 1994-1996 and 2001-2006. A controversial law is passed granting Berlusconi immunity from prosecution while in office - triggering the suspension of two court cases against him.

April 2009: Berlusconi's wife of 20 years, Veronica Lario, condemns his plan to put forward showgirls and actresses as candidates for the European parliament as "shamelessly tacky." Lario files for divorce in May 2009 following her husband's attendance at the 18th birthday party of an underwear model.

October 2009: The Constitutional Court overturns the 2008 ruling granting Berlusconi immunity while in office. The self-styled "cavaliere" describes himself as the most persecuted individual "in the entire history of the world."

December 2009: A man targets the prime minister by throwing a souvenir model of Milan cathedral at Berlusconi's face, leaving him with two broken teeth, a minor nose fracture and cuts to his lips. Tens of thousands of people rally in Rome demanding Berlusconi's resignation.

March 2010: Berlusconi's coalition loses its majority in the lower house of parliament after more than 30 deputies break away from his Party of Freedom.

July 2010: Berlusconi's government survives a confidence vote on an austerity package intended to boost Italy's ailing finances.

October 2010: Teenage Moroccan belly dancer Karima El Mahroug, known as "Ruby the heart stealer" says Berlusconi paid her €7,000 to attend a "bunga bunga" party in his villa outside Milan.

November 2010: Four members of Berlusconi's government coalition resign. The Prime minister's former ally Gianfranco Fini urges him to step down at a public rally.

December 2010: Berlusconi wins two confidence votes by a slender margin of just three votes. The votes were brought forward following scandals in his private life and allegations of corruption.

February 2011: A Milan judge orders Berlusconi to stand trial for abuse of power and for paying for sex with an underage prostitute.

September 2011: Parliament gives final approval to a 54bn euro austerity package.

October 2011: Berlusconi narrowly wins a confidence vote - by 316 votes to 301 - following a defeat on a routine but crucial budget bill.

November 2011: The Italian premier is to face another confidence vote amid the country's looming debt crisis. Italian 10-year bonds hit a new high of 6.733 per cent, stoking fears of a Greek-style default. Berlusconi had previously dismissed rumours of his resignation on his Facebook page.