Romano Prodi OMRI born 9 August 1939) is an Italian politician who served as the 10th President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004. He served twice as Prime Minister of Italy – from 17 May 1996 to 21 October 1998, and from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008. He is considered the founder of the Italian centre-left and one of the most prominent and iconic figures of the so-called Second Republic. Prodi is often nicknamed Il Professore (“The Professor”), due to his academic career.
A former professor of economics and international advisor to Goldman Sachs, Prodi ran in 1996 as lead candidate of The Olive Tree coalition, winning the general election and serving as Prime Minister of Italy until 1998. Following the victory of his coalition The Union over the House of Freedoms led by Silvio Berlusconi in the April 2006 Italian elections, Prodi took power again. On 24 January 2008, he lost a vote of confidence in the Senate house, and consequently tendered his resignation as Prime Minister to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, but continued in office for almost four months for routine business, until early elections were held and a new government was formed.
Up to this time, he has been the only one lead candidate of Italian centre-left who won elections and managed to form a government without the need of opponents’ parliamentary support.
On 14 October 2007, Prodi became the first President of the Democratic Party upon foundation of the party. On 12 September 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon selected Prodi as president of the African Union-UN peacekeeping panel. He is currently serving as the UN Special Envoy for the Sahel.