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Italian president asks Prodi to stay on as PM

Italian president asks Prodi to stay on as PM
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Attempting to steer his country away from a political crisis, the Italian president has called on Romano Prodi to stay on as prime minister. However, he has been called on to test his slim majority in parliament with a vote of confidence. Prodi offered his resignation on Wednesday after he lost a vote on foreign policy in the Senate. Reacting to the president’s announcement, Prodi thanked him for the trust he’s placed in him and the parties in his coalition.

President Giorgio Napolitano later said: “Representatives of the groups in Prodi’s Union have the conviction that they can guarantee a future government that acts with an indispensable unity and efficiency. This based on the agreement they’ve signed regarding their programme and methods.

The political crisis came after weeks of division within Prodi’s multi-party coalition. Commentators say the confidence votes in both the lower house of parliament and the Senate could begin as early as Wednesday. They say in the past few days Prodi appears to have won the support of at least one extra senator to bolster his thin majority in the upper house.