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Italy's Senate Votes to Keep Italy's PM, Second Vote Pending

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived a confidence vote in the Senate, but his political future remains in limbo pending a vote in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies.

The upper house of Parliament voted 162 to 135 in favor of Mr. Berlusconi Tuesday. He had been expected to receive strong support from political allies in the Senate but faces more uncertainty in the lower house, where a no-confidence vote could force him to resign mid-way through his current 5-year term. The Chamber of Deputies votes later Tuesday.

The 74-year-old media billionaire has been facing numerous allegations, including charges that his aides sought to buy votes ahead of Tuesday's action. He has also been forced to fend off other accusations, including a string of sex and corruption scandals.

On Monday, Mr. Berlusconi told Parliament that ousting him would be "political folly." He appealed to lawmakers to be politically responsible and renew confidence in his government.

However, Chamber of Deputies leader Gianfranco Fini urged Mr. Berlusconi to resign, saying Italy is facing a political crisis. Gianfranco was once an ally of Mr. Berlusconi.

Mr. Berlusconi was first elected prime minister in 1994. He won elections in 2001 and 2008 and has served the longest of any leader in post-war Italy.