Thursday, July 27, 2006

Prodi lives to fight another day

Two sighs of relief for the Prodi government. First, the Senate approves the Italian mission to Afghanistan after the government made it a vote of confidence. Second, the Camera approves by the required two-thirds majority amnesties for certain crimes - and the minister who opposed it, Antonio Di Pietro, doesn't resign.

Members of the centre-right had left the Senate to deprive the centre-left of the quorum; immediately after the vote, they complained that the quorum had been calculated incorrectly. As Altero Matteoli explains,
"There are 322 senators; 4 were on mission, so the total goes down to 318, half of which is 159. So there wasn't the legal number, that's 160 [50% + 1]".

Marini explained however that "to the 159 present one always adds the non-voting President - there's no doubt about it".

Although the centre-left won this vote, 16 senators from six parties (Verdi, PRC, PDCI, SVP, IdV, DS) defected on other provisions of the bill. It remains to be seen whether these sixteen will form a future 'awkward squad'.

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