|First Prodi cabinet|
53rd cabinet of Italy
|Date formed||17 May 1996|
21 October 1998|
|People and organisations|
|Head of state||Oscar Luigi Scalfaro|
|Head of government||Romano Prodi|
|Total no. of ministers||20|
Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) |
Italian People's Party (PPI)
Italian Renewal (RI)
Federation of the Greens (FdV)
Democratic Union (UD)
|Status in legislature||Centre-left coalition|
|Opposition leader||Silvio Berlusconi|
|Outgoing election||2001 election|
|Legislature term(s)||9 May 1996 - 30 May 2001 (XIII)|
|Incoming formation||Prodi I Cabinet formation, 1996|
|Outgoing formation||D'Alema I Cabinet formation, 1998|
|Successor||D'Alema I Cabinet|
On 21 April 1996, the Olive Tree won 1996 general election in alliance with the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), making Romano Prodi Prime Minister of Italy. It was the first time since 1946 that the Communists, now gathered in the Democratic Party of the Left, took part in the government of the country and one of their leaders, Walter Veltroni, who ran in ticket with Prodi in a long electoral campaign, was Deputy Prime Minister.
Besides the external support of PRC, the coalition received the support also of some minor parties: the Italian Republican Party (PRI, social-liberal), The Network (social-democratic), the South Tyrolean People's Party (regionalist and Christian democratic) and some other minor parties which later merged with PDS.
The government fell in 1998 when the Communist Refoundation Party withdrew its support. This led to the formation of a new government led by Massimo D'Alema as Prime Minister. There are those who claim that D'Alema deliberately engineered the collapse of the Prodi government to become Prime Minister himself. As the result of a vote of no confidence in Prodi's government, D'Alema's nomination was passed by a single vote. This was the first and so far, the only occasion in the history of the Italian republic on which a vote of no confidence had ever been called; the Republic's many previous governments had been brought down by a majority "no" vote on some crucially important piece of legislation (such as the budget).