Italy’s new Prime Minister Romano Prodi faces his first test today with a confidence vote in the Senate. The centre-left leader’s coalition, which won a general election in April, has a mere two-seat majority in the upper house. If he loses, his government will be forced to resign.
Prodi faces a second vote of confidence next week in the lower house where he holds a clear 70-seat majority. The prime minister has said he plans to “shake up” his country and pledged to revive it morally, socially and economically. He has announced plans to reverse many of the policies of his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi – in particular, Prodi described the war in Iraq as a “serious mistake” and vowed to withdraw Italy’s force, though he gave no timetable.