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Berlusconi Wins Vote of Confidence

Silvio Berlusconi
The upper house of Italy's parliament, the Senate, has given Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi a vote of confidence, approving a series of measures aimed at energizing the country's chronically weak economy.

The plan, which still needs the approval of both houses of parliament, provides economic incentives for smaller firms, measures to make Italy's exports more competitive and incentives for companies to start up and expand.

The government had presented the reforms as a vote of confidence in efforts to guarantee their speedy approval.

Mr. Berlusconi, whose supporters have comfortable majorities in both houses of parliament, frequently uses votes of confidence to close the ranks of his coalition parties and avoid amendments that would delay the passage of legislation.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.