Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi is expected to announce a replacement for his justice minister. Clemente Mastella offered his resignation yesterday, implicated in a corruption probe along with his politician wife. When news first emerged that his wife faced arrest, Mastella won some sympathy with a tearful speech in parliament in which he said he would put his family first.
But when it later became clear that he, too, was under investigation, the opposition became more critical. Although Mastella’s small party pledged to continue supporting Prodi’s government, many political commentators agree that the loss of his justice minister will weaken the fragile 19-month-old coalition.
Mastella has been at odds with Prodi before, most recently threatening to resign over possible changes to Italy’s electoral law.