ROME, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta on Wednesday won a vote of confidence at the Senate, securing his troubled government's survival.
Letta, whose center-left Democratic Party (PD) controls the lower house but is short of a solid majority in the Senate, obtained the victory with 235 yes votes versus 70 no votes and 0 abstentions.
The PD gave a vote of confidence as did its center-right partner, former premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, and the centrist formation of Letta's predecessor Mario Monti.
Opposition forces, namely the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement (M5S), rightist Northern League and leftist Left, Ecology and Freedom party (SEL), gave a vote of no confidence.
Letta decided to ask for a confidence motion after his left-right coalition was threatened last week by Berlusconi who ordered the five ministers from his party, including Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, to resign.
Berlusconi, who is waiting for the Senate's decision over his ejection from parliament following a final tax fraud verdict, blamed the coalition for putting on ice the postponement of a value added tax (VAT) hike, which Letta said "was agreed upon by PdL and PD."
Letta refused to accept the ministers signatures and the PdL appeared to split over the vote until the last moment, when Berlusconi made an about face on his decision and backed the government.
"We listened carefully to the statements made by the prime minister ... Italy needs a government and reforms, and we decided not without internal anguish to express a vote of confidence," the 77-year-old media tycoon said.
In Italy, when a party or coalition is asked to form a government by the president, this government must receive a vote of support from both houses before it can exercise power. When it receives a vote of no confidence from parliament, it must resign.
The signs of crisis had promoted Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to voice concerns over the governing majority's stability and its capacity to deal with the Italian economic woes.
In an address to the upper house before the vote on Wednesday, Letta warned that his recession-hit country runs a risk "which could be fatal" and depends on the government's stability.
"The country is exhausted by thousands of conflicts, by a political world that is always brawling" instead of concentrating "on what needs doing," he stressed.
New elections would not solve political problems, Letta also said. A vote with the present much-criticized voting law would be inconclusive like it happened in February's election, which produced the fragile alliance.