Italy is once again plunged into crisis after the resignation of its prime minister. Romano Prodi stepped down after losing a vote of confidence in the Senate as expected. Now Italy’s president Georgio Napolitano is holding crisis talks with politicial leaders to see whether he can avoid calling snap elections.
The discussions are expected to be long and difficult as there is no consensus between Italy’s main political forces. The outcome of the Senate vote was a crushing defeat for the ruling centre left, and could open the way for a return to power for former premier Silvio Berlusconi.
This morning, newspaper headlines highlighted the deep political rift between left and right with the Berlusconi-owned Il Giornale cheering Prodi’s defeat, while the left-leaning La Repubblica mourned what it called his “unjust demise”. Berlusconi’s centre-right opposition, which has a solid lead in opinion polls, wants early elections, which could be held within the next two months.
But president Napolitano is known to oppose holding snap polls under Italy’s complex electoral system, which left Prodi with a tiny majority in the Senate and a highly unstable ruling coalition.