Back in the driving seat, with the Senate confidence vote behind him, Romano Prodi will now continue his drive for electoral reform in Italy. But his victory was hard won. A week of rallying support and he took the vote by a majority of only five. His detractors did all they could to prevent him staying as Prime Minister, sticking funeral notices on Senate seats sporting his nickname, Mortadello, a particular type of fat Italian sausage. But his supporters won out.
One 97-year-old senator flew back from Dubai just to vote in favour of Prodi. There does have to be a second confidence vote tomorrow, in the lower house, but Prodi has a more comfortable majority there. Opposition senators, deeply disappointed, have resigned themselves to playing a waiting game.
“The government will not last long,” said Senator Rocco Buttliglione. “Two of the senators said they will vote yes now but they will not vote yes to any future government proposals.”
“At least we are back to work”, said Giovanna Melandri, the Sports Minister. The opposition can take comfort in a new poll showing nearly half of Italians would have preferred a new election.