[QODLink]
Europe
Italy sets date for snap election
Caretaker cabinet takes decision after formal dissolution of parliament by president.
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2008 09:24 GMT
Prodi has continued as caretaker PM after his
centre-left government fell last month [AFP]
Italy will hold national elections on April 13-14, the Reuters news agency reports, quoting a minister.
 
The date was set on Wednesday by the cabinet of Romano Prodi, the caretaker prime minister, shortly after the president formally dissolved the country's parliament.
Giorgio Napolitano's decision paved the way for the early elections.
 
"It is my regret today to have to call voters back to polling booths without those reforms having been approved," Napolitano said after he and Prodi signed a decree dissolving parliament three years ahead of schedule.
Italy's previous election was held two years ago.
 
Origin of crisis
 
Prodi's 20-month-old centre-left government fell last month after a small centrist party within the ruling coalition pulled out.
 
After that, attempts were made to form an interim government, which would have been entrusted with making changes to the voting system.
 
Napolitano had asked Franco Marini, the senate speaker, to try to engineer an interim government that could oversee amendments to Italy's electoral law, but the effort failed.
 
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's conservative former prime minister, has consistently rejected any possibility of an interim government.
 
Electoral law
 
Walter Veltroni, leader of Prodi's coalition, had hoped to delay the election by supporting the idea of an interim government and mooted changes to the electoral law.
 
The proportional representation vote system was passed in the last months of Berlusconi's 2001-06 term but was widely criticised.
 
It is widely seen as giving too much power to small parties, thus increasing the risk of political instability should such groups leave the government.
 
Berlusconi, 71, whose centre-right coalition is leading in the opinion polls, is well placed to return to power.
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
join our mailing list