He is staying on as the Italian prime minister but must face a vote of confidence in parliament. This is what the country’s president has decided for Romano Prodi, who offered to resign on Wednesday after losing a vote in the Senate on his foreign policy.
Some opposition parties had called for fresh elections to solve the political crisis. “I will seek a vote of confidence as soon as possible,” Prodi told reporters, “with renewed impetus and a united coalition.” President Giorgio Napolitano made his decision after two days of talks with party leaders.
He said: “Representatives of the groups in Prodi’s Union have the conviction that they can guarantee a future government that acts with an indispensable unity and efficiency. This based on the agreement they’ve signed regarding their programme and methods.”
The political crisis came after weeks of division within Prodi’s multi-party coalition on various issues. Prodi appeared in high spirits after the president’s announcement. “I’m always smiling,” he said. “Even after the past few days I wasn’t really crying.” But he agreed with a journalist who said that he must feel relieved. The votes of confidence in both chambers of parliament are expected to be held in the coming week.