The Italian government on Tuesday night won a confidence vote from the Senate on a major amendment to the 2014 budget bill that needs to be approved by parliament before the end of the year.
The coalition led by Prime Minister Enrico Letta secured support of the upper house by a vote of 171 to 135, just hours after the revived center-right party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Forza Italia (FI), became opposition.
Letta's center-left Democratic Party (PD) and the new political movement of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano that was made up of moderates splitting from Berlusconi's FI supported the amendment.
The anti-establishment Five-Star Movement (M5S) led by comedian-turned-activist Beppe Grillo voted against along with rightist Northern League and FI.
With only hours to go before the confidence vote, officials were still working on details of the bill, which should be aimed at stimulating growth in the stagnant economy as Italy seeks to emerge from a deep recession.
Among the new measures of the package there was a minimum guaranteed income for job-seekers, the unemployed and laid-off, which will be funded by lowering the ceiling on public-sector pensions above 90,000 euros (122,161 U.S. dollars).
The European Commission has recently warned that the package was not effective at bringing down Italy's huge debt, which is around 133 percent of its gross domestic product, saying the country risked breaking the European Union stability pact.
Earlier in the day, FI confirmed its break with the ruling coalition a day before the Senate moves to expel Berlusconi over a tax fraud conviction.