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Romano Prodi

Romano Prodi

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Romano Prodi
Image:Romano Prodi, 2006 G8 Summit.jpg


Assumed office 
May 17 1996October 21 1998
May 17 2006 – present
Preceded by Lamberto Dini
Silvio Berlusconi
Succeeded by Massimo D'Alema

In office
September 16 1999 – October 30 2004
Preceded by Manuel Marin
Succeeded by José Manuel Durão Barroso

Born August 9 1939 (age 78)
Scandiano, Italy
Political party Olive Tree (non-aligned)
Spouse Flavia Franzoni
Profession economist, university professor
Religion Roman Catholic

Romano Prodi  (born August 9 1939) is a centre-left Italian politician. Since May 17, 2006, he has served as Prime Minster of Italy following the narrow victory of his l'Unione coalition over the Casa delle Libertà led by Silvio Berlusconi in the April 2006 Italian elections. He was previously Prime Minister from 1996 to 1998 and President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004.


[edit] Personal

Romano Prodi was born in Scandiano, in the province of Reggio Emilia (Emilia-Romagna). He is the eighth of nine children of Mario Prodi, an engineer originally from a peasant family, and Enrica, elementary teacher. He has six brothers, five of them university professors (including a Member of the European Parliament, Vittorio Prodi), and two sisters.

He married Flavia Franzoni in 1969. They have two sons, Giorgio and Antonio. He and his family still live in Bologna. Prodi is a devout Roman Catholic.<ref>BBC News — Romano Prodi</ref>

[edit] Academic career

After completing his secondary education at the Liceo Ludovico Ariosto in Reggio Emilia, Prodi graduated in law at the Sacro Cuore Catholic University of Milan in 1961 and carried out postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics.

In 1963 he became a teaching assistant for Beniamino Andreatta in the department of economics and the faculty of Political Science of the University of Bologna, then serving as associate professor (1966) and lastly professor (1971-1999) of industrial organisation and industrial policy. Prodi has also been a visiting professor at Harvard University and the Stanford Research Institute. His research covers mainly competition regulations and the development of small and medium businesses. He is also interested in relations between states and markets and the dynamics of the different capitalistic models.

Prodi has received close to a score of honorary degree s from institutions in Italy, the rest of Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa.

[edit] Politics

[edit] Beginnings

Prodi used to be a left-wing reformist Christian Democrat and disciple of Beniamino Andreatta, another economist turned politician. During the mid-1970s, he was appointed Minister of Industry in 1978 during Giulio Andreotti's government as technical minister; he held posts on various commissions through the 1980s and early 1990s.

On April 2, 1978, Prodi and other members of the faculty of the University of Bologna passed on a tip about a safe house where Aldo Moro, the former Prime Minister kidnapped by the Red Brigades, was detained. Bizarrely, Prodi claimed he had been given the tip by the founders of the Christian Democratic Party, contacted from beyond the grave via a séance and a Ouija board. While Prodi thought the word Gradoli referred to a town on the outskirts of Rome, it likely referred to the Roman address of a BR safehouse, located at via Gradoli 96. Later, other Italian members of the European Commission claimed that Prodi had invented this story to conceal the real source of the tip, which they believed to have originated in the Italian extraparliamentary left. [1]

Prodi served as chairman of the powerful state-owned industrial holding company IRI - from 1982 to 1989 and again from 1993 to 1994. He twice came under investigation for alleged corruption while he was head of IRI. He was accused of conflict of interest first in connection with contracts awarded to his own economic research company, and secondly over the sale of the loss making state owned food conglomerate SME to the multinational Unilever - for which he had for a time been a paid consultant; but, for both accusations, he obtained a full acquittal.

[edit] The Olive Tree

In 1995 he became Chairman of the centre-left Olive Tree coalition, and in the 1996 election defeated Silvio Berlusconi and the Pole of Freedoms, being consequently appointed as Prime Minister. His government fell in 1998 when the Communist Refoundation Party withdrew support, allowing the formation of a new government under Massimo D'Alema (many claim that D'Alema caused the collapse of Prodi in order to become Prime Minister himself). This happened by only one vote in the Chamber of Deputies in the vote of a mozione di sfiducia, an act with which either House of Parliament can withdraw its support to the Government (it has been the first and so far the only time such a vote has been called in the history of republican Italy, many Governments having fallen by dimission after the rejection of an important bill, such as the general budget of the State).

[edit] President of the European Commission (1999–2004)

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Prodi, a well-known European Union supporter, was appointed on September 1999 as the President of the European Commission, with a large support from both Christian Democrat and Social Democrat European parties. During his presidency, in 2002 eleven EU countries officially adopted the euro as their new currency, replacing a number of national currencies. Successively, in 2004 the European Union was enlarged to several Eastern Europe countries, most of them formerly part of the communist bloc. Prodi's mandate expired 18 November 2004.

[edit] Back to Italian politics

Romano Prodi campaigning in Bari for the 2006 general election

After the end of his time at the Presidency of the European Commission, Prodi returned to Italian politics at the helm of the centre-left coalition, The Union.

In order to officially state his candidacy for the 2006 general election, Prodi agreed to participate in an apposite primary election, held on October 2005, which he won with over 70% of votes. Over four million people for the occasion went to cast a vote in the primary election. He thus led his coalition to the electoral campaign preceding the election, eventually won by a very narrow margin of 25,000 votes, and a final majority of two seats in the Senate, on April 10. Prodi's appointment was somewhat delayed, as the outgoing President of the Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, ended his mandate in May, not having enough time for the usual procedure (consultations made by the President, appointment of a Prime Minister, motion of confidence and oath of office). After the acrimonious election of Giorgio Napolitano to replace Ciampi, Prodi could proceed with his transition to government. On May 16 he was invited by Napolitano to form a government. The following day, Prodi and his cabinet were sworn in.

[edit] In power once more

Romano Prodi and his cabinet were sworn in on 17 May, 2006. Prodi's cabinet drew in politicians from across his centre-left winning coalition, in addition to Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, an unelected former official of the European Central Bank with no partisan membership.

Romano Prodi obtained the support for his cabinet on 19 May at the Senate and on 23 May at the Chamber of Deputies. Also on May 18, Prodi laid out some sense of his new foreign policy when he pledged to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq and called the Iraq war a "grave mistake that has not solved but increased the problem of security". (Guardian)

[edit] Coalition

The coalition led by Romano Prodi, thanks to the electoral law which gives the winner a sixty seat majority, can count on a good majority in House of Representatives but only on a very narrow majority in Senate. The composition of the coalition is very varied, throwing parties of Communist inspiration like "Comunisti Italiani" (Italian Communist Party) and "Rifondazione Comunista" (Communist Refoundation party) together with parties of Catholic and liberal inspiration, like "Margherita" (Daisy) and "UDEUR" (Democratic Union for Europe), led by Clemente Mastella, a former member of Christian Democratic Party. Therefore, according critics, it is difficult to have a unique policy in different key areas, such as economics and foreign politics (for instance, Italian military presence in Afghanistan).

The Prodi II Cabinet
Ministry Minister Party
Prime Minister Romano Prodi No affiliation (on Olive Tree list)
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Massimo D'Alema DS
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and Tourism Francesco Rutelli Daisy
Minister of the Interior Giuliano Amato No affiliation (on Olive Tree list) Vice President of the European Socialist Party
Minister of Economy and Finance Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa No affiliation ("technical" appointee)
Minister of Defence Arturo Parisi Daisy
Minister of Justice Clemente Mastella UDEUR
Minister of Economic Development Pier Luigi Bersani DS
Minister of Infrastructures Antonio Di Pietro Italy of Values
Minister of Agriculture Paolo De Castro No affiliation (on Olive Tree list)
Minister of Education Giuseppe Fioroni Daisy
Minister of University and Research Fabio Mussi DS
Minister of Health Livia Turco DS
Minister of Communications Paolo Gentiloni Daisy
Minister of Labour Cesare Damiano DS
Minister of Social Solidarity Paolo Ferrero Communist Refoundation
Minister of Environment Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio Greens
Minister of Transports Alessandro Bianchi No affiliation (on PdCI list)
Minister of European Politics and International Trade Emma Bonino Rose in the Fist
Minister without portfolio (Reforms, Parliamentary Relations) Vannino Chiti DS
Minister without portfolio (Public Functions, Innovation) Luigi Nicolais DS
Minister without portfolio (Regional Affairs) Linda Lanzillotta Daisy
Minister without portfolio (Platform Accomplishment) Giulio Santagata Daisy
Minister without portfolio (Equal Opportunities) Barbara Pollastrini DS
Minister without portfolio (Youth Politics, Sports) Giovanna Melandri DS
Minister without portfolio (Family) Rosy Bindi Daisy

[edit] 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict

See also: Timeline of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict

August 21: Romano Prodi said that he has informed United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan that Italy is ready to lead the multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Speaking near his holiday home in Tuscany, Prodi told reporters that Annan would take a final decision on the leadership of the force at the weekend of August 27 and August 28.<ref name=Haaretz 753124">"Italian Prodi: Italy ready to lead UN multinational force in Lebanon", Haaretz, 2006-08-21. Retrieved on 2006-08-21.</ref>

August 22: "I have confirmed the willingness of Italy to take command of the mission in Lebanon." the prime minister said, according to his office. Prodi's office said that both the Lebanese and Israeli governments had contacted Rome about taking a leadership role in the U.N. force.<ref name=CNN-08-22>"Israeli troops shoot Hezbollah militants", CNN, 2006-08-22.</ref>

August 23: Romano Prodi said his country's troops are prepared to lead the multinational force once the composition is determined and their role is clearly defined. He told he believes it is "urgent" that a decision be made soon, because the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah is fragile. Israel has said it won't withdraw from Lebanon until the international forces arrive. "I trust their statement," the prime minister said. Prodi said he has made it clear to Annan that all members of the Security Council should not only politically endorse the effort, but also offer troops.<ref name=CNN-08-23>"Annan plans Mideast trip to push Lebanon cease-fire", CNN, 2006-08-23.</ref>

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes


[edit] External links

Preceded by:
Lamberto Dini
Prime Minister of Italy
Succeeded by:
Massimo D'Alema
Preceded by:
Manuel Marín
President of the European Commission
Succeeded by:
José Manuel Durão Barroso
Preceded by:
Silvio Berlusconi
Prime Minister of Italy
2006 – present
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Romano Prodi

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