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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has won a confidence vote from the Senate as his approval rating falls dangerously low. The vote was on an unpopular 25 billion euro austerity package to get Italy's budget back in the black.
The survival of Berlusconi's government has been threatened by a corruption scandal and an open rift with his coalition partner Gianfranco Fini.
In Rome there were many disapproving voices.
Gianni Bozzi, Rome resident, said, "I hope this government will fall, I stand on the other side and I hope the vote will be against the survival of this government. I think this government should fall because there is too much talking and not enough doing."
It didn't fall as Berlusconi still commands a large majority in parliament.
Using the confidence vote to pass legislation also forces internal dissenters into line.
The austerity budget which includes pay cuts in the public sector and drastic reduction to regional funding is a trend across Europe.
The Bank of Italy's latest figures shows public debt at a record high of 1.8 trillion euros.
And one analyst said Italy's debt problems were far worse than many of its neighbors.
Vincenzo Albano, Analyst, said, "Compared to the Eurozone government or other European governments like in the UK we can immediately notice how there is a huge difference in that none of the other governments reaches such debt despite the economies being the same size if not bigger than Italy as well - Spain has a third the debt of Italy."
The austerity budget will now go before the lower house where the government is also planning to call a confidence vote by the end of this month.
- Italian PM defends austerity package 2010-05-27