The fragile coalition government in Italy has been plunged into chaos after failing to secure a crucial vote on foreign policy in the Senate. It’s Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s worst crisis since taking office last May.
Amid opposition calls for him to resign, Prodi convened an extraordinary cabinet meeting.
Foreign Minister Massimo d’Alema, who said before the vote that the centre-left government should resign if it did not command majority support, has been arguing for Italy’s troops to remain in Afghanistan.
“The mission in Afghanistan involves the entire international community,” said d’Alema. “I notice, that not a single country sees the need for a withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan.”
Prodi’s cabinet had already approved finance for the 1800-strong Italian troop contingent in Afghanistan. Opponents of the Italian presence may now push for their withdrawal.