Berlusconi wins vote of confidence

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has narrowly survived a no-confidence motion in the lower house of parliament.

Despite the victory, the future of Berlusconi's centre-right government remains uncertain because his wafer-thin majority will make it difficult for him to pass legislation.

Shares in media company Mediaset, controlled by Berlusconi's family, recovered ground and turned positive after the initial vote.

After a year overshadowed by corruption and sex scandals and an acrimonious split with former ally Gianfranco Fini that cost him a secure parliamentary majority, a day of reckoning arrived for Berlusconi after two-and-a-half years in power.

The 74-year-old media tycoon has repeatedly defied the sceptics, shrugging off a string of gaffes and scandals to win three elections and transform Italy's political landscape since gaining power for the first time in 1994.

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