ROME -- Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi survived a confidence vote in Parliament Friday, but his narrow majority raises doubts over his ability to govern effectively when the country needs a steady hand during its economic crisis.

Berlusconi's conservatives won in a 316-301 vote in Parliament's lower house. After days of tension, the premier's allies clapped when the result of the vote was announced.

Berlusconi has been weakened by sex scandals and criticized for his handling of Italy's economy.

He has been facing repeated calls for his resignation from his political rivals, labor unions and parts of the business community that once considered him their savior.

Even some of his own allies have openly expressed disappointment, with two deserting the crucial vote Friday.

Moments after the vote, Berlusconi spoke to reporters about his plan to spur the country's slow growth.

Had he lost the vote of confidence, Berlusconi would probably have resigned -- about 1 1/2 years before the end of his term, in 2013.