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Prodi’s struggle to survive

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As Italy’s political scene reshaped after the resignation of Prime Minister Romano Prodi on February 21st, the “new” cabinet appears as unstable as its predecessor as a consequence of its small parliamentary majority and, above all, its internal divisions. The re-appointed Premier has now set the reform of Italy’s electoral system on top of his agenda in what seems like an attempt to buy time by tying his cabinet’s fate to that of a long and complicated political process. In fact, Prodi’s bid to develop a “bipartisan” reform has led to a complicated round of consultation with the opposition parties, set to end on march 21st but capable of taking a much longer time.

The opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi, who repeatedly accused Prodi of hindering a real dialogue with the center-right, is convinced the reform could be completed quickly by introducing some changes in the present law, such as a national majority prize at the Senate and a 5% election threshold.

A third line is represented by those united under the “Referendum Committee”. Among those who push to bring the issue to popular consultation is Prodi’s Minister of Defense Arturo Parisi, once again highlighting a deep division within the cabinet, even on problems which could determine its own survival.


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