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Italians reflect on Prodi's prospects

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Italians reflect on Prodi's prospects

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Italy is facing an uncertain political future as the country’s prime minister plans to resign next week and the incoming leader looks weakened by a tough vote in parliament.

Silvio Berlusconi will step down on Tuesday. In his place, Romano Prodi is struggling to unite a centre left-coalition that stretches from communists to moderate Catholics. Can he build a government that can last? “I don’t think so. There is too much confusion. It doesn’t work,” responded one woman, interviewed in the street on Sunday. An old man joked: “Of course it will last. We are not all going to die.” “I hoped for a wider victory for the centre-left in order to push Berlusconi out of the political scene – the character who is polluting Italian society,” said a young man. Prodi’s government will have to tackle a stagnant economy and push through unpopular reforms – tough problems that will test the former European Commission president’s political skills to the limit.