TIMELINES: What short-serving Italian PM loses his first of two votes of confidence Feb. 21, 2007?

February 21, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

THEN

On Feb. 21, 2007, after only nine months in office, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi submits his resignation to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano following a humiliating vote of no confidence in the Italian Senate. Less than a year earlier, Prodi won a razor-thin election victory over incumbent and longtime Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a media mogul who had dominated Italian politics for the last decade. Prodi’s vote of confidence loss and subsequent resignation comes partly as a result of the political backlash in Italy over his controversial foreign policy decision to keep 1,800 Italian troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO coalition force in the war-torn country. Despite Prodi’s resignation, President Napolitano asks Prodi to form a new government and remain in office. In January 2008, after just 20 months in power, Prodi again loses a vote of confidence in the Italian Senate and submits his resignation. The second time it is accepted by President Napolitano—clearing a path for Berlusconi to make a successful comeback as Italian prime minster.

NOW

Last November, embattled Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi stepped down amid calls for his resignation arising from the Italian debt crisis, accusations of government corruption, and ongoing personal scandals. After 17 years at the forefront of Italian politics, Berlusconi’s resignations drew hundreds of Italian’s into the streets outside the presidential palace in celebration. When Berlusconi resigned in 2008, Italy had a national debt of 1.9 trillion euros ($2.5 trillion). Berlusconi remains one of the richest people in Italy with a family fortune estimated at $9 billion by Forbes Magazine. Today, Berlusconi, 75, faces multiple cases in Italian courts on various charges including tax fraud, bribery, and prostitute solicitation.