Da Financial Times del 25/07/2006
Originale su http://www.ft.com/cms/s/423cafba-1b79-11db-b164-0000779e2340.html

Prodi faces coalition dilemma over crucial Afghan vote

di Tony Barber

Rome - The Italian government's pride in hosting tomorrow's emergency Middle East conference was tempered yesterday by an uncomfortable awareness that the ruling coalition is at risk over military policy in Afghanistan.

Romano Prodi, the centre-left premier elected in April, contends that Rome's choice as the conference venue shows how Italy has regained its allies' confidence after the erratic style of Silvio Berlusconi, his predecessor.

"The decision to meet in Italy represents a recognition of our government's efforts to create a path to peace in the Middle East," Mr Prodi said last weekend.

For Italy's allies, however, it is no less importantthat Mr Prodi should demonstrate leadership by securing the extension of funding for Italy's Nato-led militarymission in Afghanistan.

In the Senate, parliament's upper house, where Mr Prodi's coalition has a two-seat majority, a crucial Afghan vote is due on Thursday. Up to nine radical leftist senators have threatened to defy Mr Prodi and vote against refunding.

Government strategists said yesterday they were considering whether to make the issue a vote of confidence, in effect calling the bluff of the radicals, who would provoke their government's collapse if they refused to climb down.

Parliamentary confidence votes are common in Italy and were used dozens of times by Mr Berlusconi's government, even though it had substantial legislative majorities.

But Mr Prodi dare not risk such frequent recourse to confidence votes. His nine-party coalition has already lost several key votes in Senate committees, and the opposition smells blood.

On many issues, from economic reforms and infrastructure projects to the justice system and same-sex unions, Mr Prodi's coalition is unable to present a united front.

Political commentators agree that continual resort to confidence votes would one day backfire and cause his government's fall, leaving Mr Prodi to rue a wasted chance to reinvigorate Italy's lacklustre economy.

The premier is, however, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. In the absence of a confidence vote, the radical leftists may rebel anyway.

Italy's Afghan mission would then be salvaged by Mr Berlusconi's opposition, which supports Nato's operations and would be delighted to expose the government as reliant upon its votes to uphold Italian foreign policy.

A similar trap snared Mr Prodi's first government in June 1998, when communist legislators refused to support Nato's expansion into eastern Europe and he had to rely on opposition votes to save him. So serious was the political damage that Mr Prodi's premiership fell apart four months later.

This time, Mr Prodi says the radical leftists should acknowledge that he has already realigned Italian foreign policy. While stressing Italy's long-term alliance with the US, he has abandoned Mr Berlusconi's pose as continental Europe's biggest friend of US President George W. Bush. He has also brought Italy closer to France and Germany.

In return, he says, his radical allies should cut him some slack on Afghanistan and not jeopardise a centre-left coalition that fought so hard to defeat Mr Berlusconi in April's election.

Sullo stesso argomento

Articoli in archivio

Marini: no al Partito democratico nel Pse
«Per i cattolici sarebbe inaccettabile un'egemonia culturale e politica socialdemocratica». «Su Kabul meglio non ricorrere alla fiducia, l'Unione dialoghi ed eviti scommesse al buio»
 
Cos'� ArchivioStampa?
Una finestra sul mondo della cultura, della politica, dell'economia e della scienza. Ogni giorno, una selezione di articoli comparsi sulla stampa italiana e internazionale. [Leggi]
Rassegna personale
Attualmente non hai selezionato directory degli articoli da incrociare.
Sponsor
Contenuti
Notizie dal mondo
Notizie dal mondo
Community
• Forum
Elenco degli utenti

Sono nuovo... registratemi!
Ho dimenticato la password
• Sono già registrato:
User ID

Password
Network
Newsletter

iscriviti cancella
Suggerisci questo sito

Attenzione
I documenti raccolti in questo sito non rappresentano il parere degli autori che si sono limitatati a raccoglierli come strumento di studio e analisi.
Comune di Roma

Questo progetto imprenditoriale ha ottenuto il sostegno del Comune di Roma nell'ambito delle azioni di sviluppo e recupero delle periferie

by Mondo a Colori Media Network s.r.l. 2006-2019
Valid XHTML 1.0, CSS 2.0