Premier Romano Prodi sailed through a confidence vote in the House on Friday, ending a nine-day crisis that could have toppled his already fragile government. The centre-left premier won the ballot with 342 votes in favour, 253 against, and two abstentions. ‘It was a good vote with a great margin. Above all, the week long debate showed that the centre left is much more united and compact than the centre right. Government action will now be stronger’, Prodi said after the victory. ‘The government has gone through a critical period from which I’m convinced it will emerge stronger and more united’, he added.
Prodi resigned last week after losing a vote on foreign policy in the Senate, where his razor-thin majority government abstained on his motion to continue providing troops in Afghanistan and expand an American military base in Vicenza. After consultations with political leaders, president Giorgio Napolitano rejected Prodi’s resignation and instead asked him to test his majority in Parliament. Prodi survived a tough vote in the Senate, winning the confidence ballot there by 162 votes to 157, although it seems that the upper chamber will continue to pose a risk for Prodi since he holds only one more Senate seat than opposition chief Silvio Berlusconi.