Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has won a decisive victory in a confidence vote on his government in the Senate.
Earlier, Silvio Berlusconi performed a complete U-turn, backing Letta in an emotional speech, following days of political twists and turns.
At the weekend, it looked as though Berlusconi could have been poised to topple the government as he withdrew his People of Freedom party ministers from Letta’s coalition and called for fresh elections.
Then, over the last couple of days, a flood of Berlusconi’s allies defected, pledging to support the government.
Of the 307 senators called on to take part in the vote, 235 voted in favour of Letta’s government and 70 voted against. His fragile right-left coalition has only been in place since April.
Berlusconi’s about-turn at the final hour could in fact work out well for his party. This way, it remains intact – retaining its ability to threaten the government in future.