Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has scraped through his 51st vote of confidence in three years, but it was by the narrowest of margins.
Before the vote opposition MPs boycotted the debate in parliament. After it they said the slender majority showed the administration had neither the strength nor the credibility to tackle Italy’s financial mess.
Even some MPs from Berlusconi’s side had reluctantly supported the government while openly criticising his leadership.
Berlusconi squeezed past the finish line by 316 votes to 301.
He was forced into having the vote after a routine budget measure failed to get through earlier in the week.
Italian analysts have talked of his bickering government as an administration limping towards the end of the line.
Four separate court cases in his personal life are also weighing heavy on Il Cavaliere’s popularity.
The vote of confidence might have given him a reprieve, but many leader writers have been predicting another crisis in a matter of months and an early general election.