In February 2007, after less than a year in office, Prime Minister
Romano Prodi offered his resignation to the president of the Republic,
Giorgio Napolitano, after his government lost a vote in the Senate.
The motion outlined Italy’s foreign policy in fairly broad terms and
would not have been critical if the opposition, the radical left, and
Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema himself had not made it into a test
for the whole government. On the morning of the vote, D’Alema had
said, “If we don’t have a majority, then it’s time to call it a day.” As it
turned out, 158 senators voted in favor of the motion and 136 against,
with 24 abstention. Since the rules of the Senate count abstentions as
“no’s,” the motion failed, and Prodi tendered his resignation.