The controversial finanziaria government budget has been approved by a vote of confidence in the senate of 162 against 157 votes, thanks in large part to the votes of seven life senators who gave their support to Prodi's centre-left coalition. The centre-left coalition holds only one seat more than the opposition in the senate.

It is now up to the chamber of deputies to give their final vote on the 2007 financial budget before the end of the year.

The