Italy’s new prime minister Romano Prodi has survived a confidence vote in the Senate. The result secures the approval of the upper house for his new government. It was the first and most difficult of two parliamentary confidence votes required before his government can start work.
The Senate vote is usually a formality, but Prodi’s fragile hold on the upper house made it a crucial test which could have toppled his fledgling government. Prodi won by 165 votes to 155 – his margin of victory boosted by a “yes” vote from all seven of Italy’s unelected senators-for-life. The second vote follows next week in the lower house where Prodi has a clear 70-seat majority. The new prime minister has said he plans to “shake up” his country and has pledged to revive it morally, socially and economically. He has also announced plans to table the withdrawal of Italy’s force in Iraq.