The Italian Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a disputed constitutional reform pushed by Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government - the first major change to Italy's constitution since it came into force in 1948.
As the measures passed parliament's upper house, applause broke out among Berlusconi's conservative forces, who have a majority in parliament. The center-left opposition bitterly contested the reform, and vowed to call a referendum to overturn it, the AP reports.
The 170-132 vote, with three abstentions, came at the end of a tense session and was the last in a series of parliamentary approvals necessary to make changes to the constitution.
The reform was pushed by the autonomy-minded Northern League, a small partner in Berlusconi's center-right coalition. League leader Umberto Bossi - an ex-Reforms minister who gave up his Cabinet post and has been sidelined since suffering a stroke in March 2004 - made a rare public appearance at the Senate for the session. A.M.
After it turned out that Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov included the Fonbet betting company in the list of backbone enterprises that can count on state support, everyone started talking about these bookmakers.