Italy in crisis: Prime Minister forced out

Jennifer Shaw 31 January 2008

The Italian government has been left in crisis after the resignation of Prime Minister Romano Prodi last Friday.

Prodi, who was leader of the coalition L’Unione, was forced to step down after losing the support of the small Udeur party.

Prodi was forced to call a vote of confidence, his 32nd since he came to office on May 17th 2006.

Although he won the support of the Camera (equivalent to the House of Commons), the following day, Prodi was crushed at the Senate (equivalent to the House of Lords), when members voted against him.

Prodi lost the Senate confidence vote by just five votes.

He was forced to submit his resignation later than evening.

The president of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, in collaboration with the presidents of the Camera and the Senate will now have to decide whether a general election needs to be called.

Former Prime Minister, leader of the Forza Italia party and general tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi is thrilled at the news.

Known in Italy as ‘Il Cavaliere’ or ‘the knight,’ Berlusconi is currently developing a new party, Popolo della libertà. But this would not stop him from going on to fight an electoral campaign to reclaim his former position as the leader of the Italian Republic, he claimed.

In fact, he has already begun his electoral campaign.

“The title of our electoral campaign with be ‘liberty'” he said, setting out his political stall before the electoral starting gun had even been fired.

“We would never pass a law or a provision that could reduce even by a shred the liberty of citizens,” the former Prime Minister continued.

Many are campaigning for electoral reform before the elections go ahead.

Prodi, who has received ongoing support from his Democratic party (il PD), has said that he does not wish to be involved in the reforms.

Responding to questions about what he will do now he is no longer in power, he replied: “I’ll be a grandad.”

Leader of the party and Mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, is a likely to be a leading left-wing candidate in the proposed elections.

Jennifer Shaw