By Giada Zampano

ROME--The Italian government secured an expected victory in a first confidence vote Friday on its 2017 budget bill.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government won the vote in Italy's lower house, where it holds an ample majority, with 348 in favor and 144 against.

The budget bill will now face a final vote in the lower house Monday and will then pass to the senate, where it needs to gain final approval by the end of the year.

The expansionary budget, worth about 27 billion euros ($28.49 billion), averts a planned value-added tax hike and includes EUR7 billion over the next three years to allow people to retire earlier.

With the budget plan, the Italian government has increased its budget deficit target to 2.4% of gross domestic product this year, sparking a new clash with the European Union over Italy's spending plans.

Mr. Renzi is facing increasing political pressure ahead of a key constitutional referendum planned for Dec. 4, on which he has staked his political future.

Write to Giada Zampano at giada.zampano at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 25, 2016 11:20 ET (16:20 GMT)

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