Senate to vote on Afghanistan mission

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Senate to vote on Afghanistan mission

27 Marzo 2007

As a very split senate prepares to vote the refinancing of Italy’s military mission in Afghanistan on tuesday, Prime
Minister Prodi feigns confidence: “I am not worried. I want to see who will
take on himself the responsibility to vote against”. The premier’s optimism
seems to stem from the belief that neither the pacifist extreme left, itself
part of the coalition, nor the pro-american opposition will vote against the
continuation of Italy’s

Indeed, a defeat in today’s vote would imply a clear and strong
delegitimization of the cabinet’s foreign policy, possibly leading to the
request, from the opposition, to hold new elections. A blow to the government
would also be a scenario in which the legislative measure passed thanks to the
vote of the rightist parties with the radical left movements voting against.

However, despite the many threats from the opposition to vote
against the refinancing – its leader, Berlusconi, after declaring several times
that his party’s support should not be taken for granted, finally decided to
abstain –  the measure is likely to pass.

Indeed, on one hand, a government’s defeat would send it home along
with its most radical components who never once showed to be willing to
sacrifice power on the altar of their much flaunted pacifist principles. On the
other hand, the opposition is not likely to disown a mission initiated by the
former Berlusconi government who’s strong transatlantic partnership has always
been one of its strongest arguments. Such a move would weaken its credibility
by showing no scruples to lay down its long upheld foreign policy for domestic
tactical political reasons, and possibly bring to early elections for which
both political sides don’t seem ready.