Italian premier Prodi wins first of two confidence votes
( dpa ) - Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi won Wednesday a confidence vote in parliament's lower house amid reports he was considering resigning ahead a similar vote slated Thursday in the upper house which he is expected to lose.
Prodi's centre-left government won the Chamber of Deputies vote by 326 for and 275 against.
The premier had requested the vote of confidence - first in the Chamber of Deputies, then Thursday in the upper house Senate - following the defection of a key ally.
Prodi had been widely expected to survive Wednesday's vote but the government risks defeat in the Senate where without the backing of non-elected life senators it no longer has a majority.
Prodi earlier Wednesday held talks with President Giorgio Napolitano who, according to news reports citing unidentified sources, suggested the premier present his resignation ahead of the Senate vote.
Prodi was considering Napolitano's suggestion, the news reports, including Italy's two main news agencies ANSA and Adnkronos said.
Prodi's decision to test his support in parliament came after former justice minister Clemente Mastella - who resigned last week in the wake of a corruption scandal - said Monday his small moderate UDEUR party would no longer support the governing centre-left coalition.
Former premier Silvio Berlusconi and other opposition leaders have asked Prodi - whose term in office expires in 2011 - to resign and for new elections to be held.
Prodi was widely expected to survive Wednesday's vote but the government risks defeat in the Senate where without the backing of non-elected life senators it no longer has a majority.
Napolitano speaking Wednesday ahead of the Chamber of Deputies vote said the country was in a phase of "acute crisis and political uncertainty."
Napolitano, who has the power to dissolve parliament, has said in the past he would prefer the introduction of electoral reforms - aimed at giving Italian governments greater stability - before the calling of fresh elections.