Prodi resigns after vote on Afghanistan

Aides not ruling out possibility that president will ask Prodi to form new government.

prodi protest 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
prodi protest 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Italian Premier Romano Prodi resigned after just nine months in office Wednesday, after his center-left government embarrassingly lost a Senate vote on foreign policy, including the nation's military mission in Afghanistan. Prodi aides did not rule out the possibility that President Giorgio Napolitano would ask Prodi to try to form a new government, and from first discussions among some allies, support for another Prodi government seemed to be building. "We are ready to reconfirm our full faith in the Prodi government," said Dario Franceschini, a leader of the Olive Tree, the largest grouping in Prodi's coalition. "Let's hope the consultations will be useful to clear things up" and to drum up support for putting together another government with enough parliamentary backing win a required confidence vote, the politicians told reporters after Olive Tree leaders met. Napolitano's office said political consultations would begin Thursday to determine which leaders might have enough support to put together a new government. In the meantime, it said, the president had asked Prodi during a meeting Wednesday night to stay on in a caretaker role. The government lost the Senate motion on its foreign policy, by just two votes, despite Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema's calling for the often bickering coalition partners to close ranks and support the government's foreign policy statement, including Italy's military mission in Afghanistan.