The vote, for the first time in post-1945 parliamentary history, was by show of hands. Both houses of parliament had abolished the secret vote on immunity issues only a few days earlier in response to national outrage over the vote - in secret - by the Chamber of Deputies to bar the prosecution of Bettino Craxi, the former Socialist prime minister, for corruption.
Also yesterday, the bribery scandal touched the two-week- old government of the Prime Minister, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, for the first time when the Environment Minister, Valdo Spini, was warned he was being investigated for corruption. Mr Spini, 47, a Socialist and former under- secretary at the Foreign Ministry, is suspected of offences involving Italy's aid to Albania, state television reported.
In a further response to the Craxi episode, the Chamber of Deputies voted by an overwhelming 489 to 3 with 6 abstentions to abolish the discredited institution of parliamentary immunity. Once it is passed - constitutionally, it has to be voted by both houses twice - prosecutors will only be required to ask permission if they want to arrest or search an MP, but not if they want to prosecute them.Reuse content