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Italy's Prodi wins key confidence vote to stay on

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Italy's Prodi wins key confidence vote to stay on

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The Italian government has survived a crucial confidence vote in the upper house of parliament. Victory means Romano Prodi remains Prime Minister. Defeat would have cost him his job.

Prodi won with 162 votes for and 157 against.

Despite the celebrations, many analysts agree Prodi is likely to remain vulnerable to infighting within his coalition. It has been divided on a range of issues, including Italy’s military presence in Afghanistan.

Last week, the centre-left premier resigned over a foreign policy revolt in the Senate. But Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano gave him a second chance and the fear of conservative ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s return brought coalition rebels back into line.

On Friday, Prodi is set to face another confidence vote in the lower house. There, unlike the Senate, he has a comfortable majority.