Italian PM Romano Prodi has resigned, following a defeat in the Senate over the deployment of Italian troops in Afghanistan, and plans to expand a US airbase in northern Italy; several members of Prodi's coalition voted against the motion.
Prodi is to remain as caretaker Prime Minister until a new coalition is formed; failing that, President Giorgio Napolitano may propose the formation of an interim government consisting of civil servants, and ultimately call for a general election.
Prodi won a closely-fought general election in April 2006, defeating incumbent Silvio Berlusconi. His broad-based leftist Union bloc gained a wafer-thin majority in the lower house of parliament and won just enough seats to control the Senate, the upper house.
22 February 2007