Italy’s political scene, shaken by the resignation of Prime Minister Romano Prodi on February 21st, is beginning to unravel as the “new” cabinet collected the confidence of both the high and the low chambers of the parliament during the week. The crisis, which stemmed from the defeat of the Government in a vote over its foreign policy, once again highlighted its instability, a consequence of its small parliamentary majority and, above all, from its internal divisions.
Infact, the event was widely interpreted as a “warning” sent by the left most radical fringes which, since the elections, have constantly expressed their disagreement over many key issues, constantly undermining the cabinet steadiness.
In an effort to show he has not lost his authority over the components of his own coalition, Prodi has formulated a document redefining the key guidelines meant to give new impulse to the action of the cabinet. The new strategy is articulated in 12 points – the first of which stresses Italy’s strong commitment in its international obligations deriving from its UN, EU and NATO membership – which, the Premier stressed, are “non-negotiable”.
The next test for the Government will be the low chamber’s vote, set for Tuesday, of the refinancement of Italy’s mission in Afghanistan - a major source of dissent within the cabinet - considered a most controversial issue by the extreme left, always pushing for a detachment from Washington’s policies. The real challenge, however, will be the vote at the high chamber, where the seats are almost equally divided between majority and opposition.