Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has survived a first parliamentary confidence vote, but still faces a second, less certain, ballot in the lower house.
Mr Berlusconi had been expected to win the Senate vote on a motion in support of the government that had been brought by his allies. The vote was 162-135.
The showdown in parliament follows a dramatic fallout with his former closest ally, Gianfranco Fini.
The break-up potentially deprives Mr Berlusconi of a majority in the lower house, and that vote will hang on a few undecided MPs.
Mr Berlusconi has said he is confident he will win both votes.