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Italian govt wins first vote on Afghanistan


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Italian govt wins first vote on Afghanistan

After surviving two confidence votes last week, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has won another victory for his foreign policy initiatives.

An overwhelming majority of the Lower House of Parliament has approved funding to keep troops in Afghanistan.

However, an upcoming vote in the Upper House will be the true test for Italy’s 2000-strong mission in Afghanistan.

Prodi has a very narrow majority in the Upper House. Dissenters in his own coalition are expected to vote no.

He may have to rely on opposition support to approve the funding.

Conservative MP Ignazio LaRussa said the government must resign if it does not win the vote in the Senate: “If this government has majority support on foreign politics, then it must demonstrate it. If it does not, without the votes of the life senators, then it has to live with the consequences.”

Leftist MP Marina Sereni called that comment foolish: “You do not ask a government – which can count on an overwhelming majority in the Lower House as well as in the Senate – to resign.”

Coalition defections in the Senate on foreign policy prompted Romano Prodi’s resignation in February.

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