Italian Govt. on Brink of Collapse

PM faces no-confidence vote after allies withdraw support
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2008 10:48 AM CST
Italian Premier Romano Prodi gestures during an interview with Associated Press in Palazzo Chigi premier office Tuesday Jan. 8, 2008.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Italian government looks set to collapse after a key ally unexpectedly withdrew his support from Romano Prodi's coalition yesterday. The PM will face a no-confidence vote tomorrow, and if he loses, the president will have to decide whether to give Prodi another mandate or dissolve parliament and call early elections. "I will not discuss. It’s over," said the instigator of the collapse.

The latest crisis for Prodi's perpetually embattled government arose after Clemente Mastella, the justice minister, resigned in the face of a corruption probe. Mastella's tiny party, which has only three senate seats, then ended its support for the government, depriving Prodi of a majority. The president has indicated he might appoint an interim government to sort out election law ahead of any new voting.