Prodi’s new government faces confidence vote

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A vote in the Senate could bring former Commission president Romano Prodi back to power in Italy, following his resignation on 21 February.

Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano rejected Prodi’s demand to step down on 21 February 2007 (see EURACTIV 22/02/07). The Senate will now decide, in a vote of confidence, whether to reinstate Prodi as prime minister. The crucial vote is likely to be held on 1 March, followed by a 2 March vote in the parliament’s lower chamber, where Prodi’s coalition enjoys a larger majority.

It was also a Senate vote, on Italy’s military mission in Afghanistan, which triggered Prodi’s decision to step down.

President Napolitano said: “It is clear that at the moment there is no alternative to a new confidence vote. This is necessary to verify if there is support for the government.”

But Prodi has only a one-seat majority in the Senate following a narrow victory in Italy’s general elections in April last year.

Prodi is said to have the support of the centre-left coalition. Piero Fassino, leading the Democrats, the largest coalition party said in an interview on state television: “According to our calculations, we have the majority among elected senators and also if you include the senators-for-life.”

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