The government of former Commission president Romano Prodi passed a crucial confidence vote in the Italian Senate, with a tight majority of 162 votes to 157.
“The government is like the Tower of Pisa – it leans, but it doesn’t fall,” said Justice Minister Clemente Mastella, following the 28 February 2007 vote in Italy’s Upper House. The ballot had to be organised after Prodi’s resignation as Italian prime minister the previous week, following a quarrel with two Communist parties present in the reigning centre-left coalition on the government’s foreign-policy guidelines.
The bone of contention was the military engagement in the NATO-led mission to Afghanistan, which involves 1,800 Italian troops deployed in the central-Asian country. Prodi resigned when he did not get the Senate’s approval for the mission – due probably to the defection of a number of Communist senator’s from the nine-party coalition led by Prodi and to resistance from some honarary life-time senators.
But President Giorgio Napolitano asked him to stay in office and put his governement to a confidence vote in senate. The risk of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi taking over after a possible defeat for Prodi seems to have disciplined renegades in the Prodi coalition. On 2 March 2006, Prodi faces another vote on the Afghan mission in the Italian Lower House, where he has a much more comfortable majority than in the Senate.
- Prime Minister Romano Prodi:Speech to the Senate(28 February 2007; in Italian)
- Prime Minister Romano Prodi:Letter to the Senate(27 February 2007; in Italian)
- Financial Times:Prodi promises electoral reform(28 February 2007)
- Guardian:Official politics in the west ignores public opinion at will(27 February 2007)
- Bloomberg:Prodi Wins Italian Senate Confidence Vote as Afghan Vote Looms(1 March 2007)
- Reuters:Prodi remains Italian PM(28 February 2007)
- New York Times:Slim Vote of Confidence for Italy’s Leader(28 February 2007)
- EuroNews:Italy's Prodi wins key confidence vote to stay on(1 March 2007) [FR] [FR] [DE]
- Nouvel Observateur:Romano Prodi remporte un vote de confiance du Sénat italien(1 March 2007)
- Le Figaro:Au Sénat, Romano Prodi s'est battu pour sa survie politique(1 March 2007)
- Libération:Italie : la nouvelle rentrée du Professore(1 March 2007)
- Reuters:Prodi kann Italien weiter regieren - Sieg im Senat(1 March 2007)
- Süddeutsche:Prodi gewinnt das Vertrauen des Senats(28 February 2006)
- ORF:Senat in Rom spricht Prodi das Vertrauen aus
- Schweizer Fernsehen:Prodi gewinnt Vertrauensvotum im Senat(28 February 2006)