Italy PM Letta wins confidence vote as Berlusconi moves to opposition

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By Paolo Biondi ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta won a confidence vote on the 2014 budget, reinforcing his coalition government a day before the Senate is expected to ban center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi from parliament over a tax fraud conviction. Berlusconi's Forza Italia party voted against the so-called Stability Law, which it described as "completely mistaken, with neither head nor tail", formalizing its break with Letta after seven months in his left-right coalition. The measure passed in the Senate shortly after midnight with a majority of 171 to 135, helped by the votes of rebel senators who broke away from Berlusconi earlier this month. "From today we are in opposition and the grand coalition is over," said Renato Brunetta, lower house leader of Berlusconi's center-right party, now rebranded as Forza Italia, the name of the movement the billionaire media tycoon used to enter politics 20 years ago.