The political future of Prime Minister Romano Prodi hangs in the balance this morning. The veteran 68-year-old is trying to resuscitate a coalition thrown into crisis when a key ally withdrew its support. After surviving a vote of confidence in the lower chamber, he must now decide whether to resign or appeal to the Senate, where defeat looms anyway.
The leader of Italy’s breakaway Northern League, Umberto Bossi said Italy should either have elections or a revolution. “All we need are the right weapons,” he said. “And we will find them.
Prodi’s opponents naturally want him to go now, but his colleagues, like Equal Rights Minister Barbara Pollastrini, are waiting and hoping. “Well, we have had the vote in the lower house,” she said. “And now we will have to see what happens.”
Prodi comfortably survived the vote in the Chamber of Deputies, but the Upper House is more hostile. A handful of un-elected Life Senators have supported him so far, but their votes may not be enough this time.
Italian governments rarely enjoy a smooth ride. There have been 61 administrations since the Second World War, roughly one for every year.