Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Sunday he had checked in the last few hours and there is no doubt that he still commands a majority in parliament.

Numerous centre-right deputies have said they were considering abandoning the prime minister ahead of a key vote on public finances on Tuesday which could bring down the government.

However Berlusconi showed characteristic confidence in comments by a telephone link-up to a meeting of supporters.

We have checked in the last few hours, the numbers are certain, he said.

Berlusconi also rejected talk of him being succeeded by an unelected technocrat government or another administration with the backing of all the forces in parliament.

The only alternative to this government would be elections, he said.

In other remarks, he said that he could cancel agreed quarterly visits by the International Monetary Fund to check on Rome's progress in adopting promised reforms whenever he wanted.

The request (for the IMF to come) came from us and we can withdraw it whenever we want, he said.

(Reporting By Gavin Jones)