[JURIST] The new center-left government under Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official profile; BBC profile] is considering granting citizenship to immigrants who have legally resided in Italy for five or more years, Italian Interior Minister Giuliano Amato [Wikipedia profile] said Thursday during a public debate in Rome. Amato rejected proposals to grant citizenship to immigrants after two years, stating that a two-year time period is too short.
The Northern League [Wikipedia backgrounder], a minority political party, voiced strong disagreement with the proposal, complaining that Italian citizens will one day have to seek resident permits in order to ensure their rights. The Northern League was party of a ruling right-wing coalition under former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] that pushed legislation to make it harder for non-European Union immigrants to obtain residence permits. AFP has more.