Italian premier Romano
Prodi joins his hands, prior to a confidence vote in the Senate, in
Rome, January 24, 2008.
Italian Premier Romano Prodi was poised to quit on Thursday
night after a Senate confidence vote produced a widely expected
defeat for his 20 month-old center-left government.
Prodi's administration, which has had a wafer-thin majority in
the 315-seat upper house ever since it came to power, lost the
crucial test by five votes.
Italy's Prime Minister
Romano Prodi attends a confidence vote session at the Senate in
Rome January 24, 2008.
As expected, key centrists in his eight-party coalition voted
against the government, finally pulling the plug on an alliance
which was deeply divided on a wide range of issues.
The government called confidence votes in the Lower House and
Senate after the small Udeur party withdrew its support following
the resignation of its leader, Justice Minister Clemente
The premier, who is obliged to quit after losing a confidence
vote, was shortly expected to pay the customary call on President
Giorgio Napolitano to hand in his resignation.
(Xinhua News Agency January 25, 2008)