Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Prodi resigns, Italian government falls

Italian Premier Romano Prodi resigned after just nine months in office Wednesday, after his leftist government lost a major Italian Senate vote on foreign policy, including Italy's military mission of 1,800 troops in Afghanistan, as a bill for refinancing the Afghan mission failed to get parliamentary approval. There was also vast discontent among Italy's anti-US left, as I mentioned, over the proposed US base expansion in the North Italian city of Vicenza.

Apparently Prodi had the Hillary Clinton disease - he wasn't left or anti-US enough for some of the parties in his coalition....che lastima.

The government lost the Senate motion on its foreign policy by two votes, although Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema made a speech calling for the coalition partners to close ranks and support the government's foreign policy.

"Foreign policy involves the role and image of Italy in the world and the life of our soldiers committed to international peace mission," said conservative opposition leader Berlusconi, whom Prodi had defeated in April elections before taking office on May 17.

Berlusconi, a staunch US ally, originally deployed the Italian troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan. The troops in Iraq were withdrawn long ago. Prodi's government had agreed to maintain the troops in Afghanistan, which didn't sit well with the anti-US Communists and Greens that were part of Prodi's coalition.

It remains to be seen whether Berlusconi gets back in or if Prodi or somebody else can put together another leftist coalition to govern.

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