Leaked audio of a phone call has become the latest embarrassment for Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

In the secretly taped conversation from 2009, Berlusconi criticised his country's political and legal system.

He said the nation was under the hold of a left-wing judiciary, and spoke of starting a revolution.

The daily La Repubblica on Monday published leaked transcripts of the call the prime minister made to Valter Lavitola, a controversial businessman investigated over the use of paid escorts for Berlusconi's infamous parties.

Lavitola is believed to have played a major role in an extortion plot against the prime minister, who allegedly paid thousands of euros to buy the silence over his knowledge the women were prostitutes.

The leaked recording is the latest blow to Berlusconi's political career. Last week, he narrowly survived a confidence vote in parliament.

Demonstrations against him and his government have become a daily occurrence, and Italy is likely to hold elections next spring, a year early.

Berlusconi is facing internal challenges from a number of ministers, most notably from finance minister Giulio Tremonti, who are unhappy with his leadership and the damage his personal and legal woes have done to Italy's reputation.

Source: Al Jazeera