Italy: President Napolitano dismisses Prodi's resignation

Saturday, February 24, 2007

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Romano Prodi.

The President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, has asked Romano Prodi today to stay on as Prime Minister, but Prodi will need to pass a confidence vote as soon as possible. After two days of consultation among Italian party leaders, Napolitano called on Saturday a press conference to explain his decision.

Napolitano stated that Prodi's coalition, l'Unione, is ready to support unanimously its Prime Minister, above all after the drafting of the twelve points agreement about the main political issues. The President rejected the proposal from the centre-right opposition to call for fresh elections, because Italy needs a new electoral law, and there was no consensus to form a broad interim government.

The confidence votes, both in Italian Chamber of Deputies and Senate, will be held in the coming week.

Thanks to the vote of independent Senator Luigi Pallaro, Marco Follini, leader of a centrist movement, and the votes of four senators for life (Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, Emilio Colombo, Rita Levi Montalcini and Oscar Luigi Scalfaro), the centre-left coalition could trust in a majority of 162 votes in Senate. The centre-right coalition, instead, has some 155 votes, although it is unknown how the ex-senator of the "Italia dei Valori" Sergio De Gregorio and the life-senators Giulio Andreotti, Francesco Cossiga and Sergio Pininfarina will vote.