After Prime Minister Romano Prodi loses a confidence vote and is forced to resign, the Democratic Left's leader, Massimo D'Alema is chosen to try to form a new Italian government. D'Alema is an ex-communist and selecting him is a monumental post-cold war event. However, forming a successful new government in Italy is no easy task. For one thing, Italy has a perpetually unstable political system, which D'Alema hopes to reform by the introduction of a two-party system. Additionally, it is imperative that Italy pass a budget that cuts $9 billion from the deficit in order to meet the requirements to enter the single European monetary unit (the euro). By selecting a diverse Cabinet and embarking on successful talks with possible coalition partners, D'Alema gains support and, consequently, the confidence vote for his new government.
10.9.98: Acting Prime Minister Romano Prodi resigns after losing a confidence vote.
10.12.98: Italy's president starts calling in political leaders to try to reach a consensus on a new government.
10.13.98: Prodi is asked by President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro to try to form a new government.
10.15.98: Prodi admits failure in his bid to form a new government. Prodi's Olive Tree coalition nominates Massimo D'Alema.
10.16.98: D'Alema, a former Communist and leader of the largest leftist party in Italy (the Democratic Left), is selected to try to form a new government.
10.17.98: Talks with potential coalition partners indicate that D'Alema might succeed in forming a new government.
10.19.98: Scalfaro officially asks D'Alema to form Italy's 56th government since World War II.
10.21.98: D'Alema becomes Italy's prime minister and chooses an eclectic Cabinet of Communists, conservatives and six women. There are 17 parties in Parliament, 7 of which are represented in the new government.
10.23.98: Italian Premier D'Alema wins the required vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies for his new government, the first to include Communists in a half-century.