Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi is once again leading a government on the rocks. He’s lost his majority in the upper house. But in parliament he has made it clear that he will not give in and will demand instead votes of confidence.
“It’s down to you, members of parliament to take the decision, in a clear and open way, for which you were elected. It’s in parliament and only in parliament that the future of this government can be decided,” Prodi said.
The man who provoked the latest crisis in Italian politics is Clemente Mastella, the former justice minister. He stepped down from his post amid corruption allegations, and removed his small but significant party along with him.
It had just three seats in the senate. But Prodi’s ruling coalition only had a one-seat majority. Now Mastella has deliberately raised the spectre of a new election.
Prodi is hoping a positive response to a vote of confidence in the lower house on Wednesday could spur more support in the senate.
He’ll seek the backing of seven lifetime senators as he has done in the past, though their vote cannot be taken for granted.
The opposition claims Prodi is just playing for time and is continuing to call for his resignation.