Thursday, August 03, 2006

Prodi government status report

Quick update on the health of the Prodi coalition:
  • The Camera has approved the executive's mini-budget. It goes tomorrow to the Senate, where it will again be the subject of a vote of confidence
  • The government has already used votes of confidence on seven separate legislative items in three months (according to an interview with Gianfranco Fini); the Berlusconi II government used 29 votes of confidence in four years.
  • The frequent use of this device has been criticised both by those on the right as on the left; even Romano Prodi has apologised in part.
  • The confidence vote is not always certain to succeed given either (a) particularly strong preferences about a particular issue, or (b) a cock-up; moreover, its use strains relationships between executive and parliamentary majority, exacerbating the situation
  • Scenting this weakness, some within the centre-right - in particular, Casini and Fini - have offered an 'understanding' on the passage of this year's budget

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