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Italian premier pleas for support as senate mulls no-confidence vote

Italy's Premier Enrico Letta is fighting for his government's survival as the Senate debates a measure aimed at ousting ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's top minister from the fragile coalition.

The Senate votes Friday on the no-confidence motion against Interior Minister Angelino Alfano for his role in the botched deportation of the wife and 6-year-old daughter of a foe of Kazakhstan's government. Alfano insists he didn't know about pressures on Italian police from Kazakhstan's ambassador, and has fired top ministry and police officials for the deportations.

While the vote is about Alfano, Letta depicted it to senators as amounting to a referendum on his three-month-old government. Letta said the government must continue to heal Italy's stagnant economy. If the motion passes, and Berlusconi yanks support in anger, the government would likely collapse.