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  • In the final run-off vote for local administrations June 9, affecting 3.5 million voters in 136 townships, participation dropped by a quarter, from a healthy 68.2% to 52%. Some historic left-wing administrations fell to the Lega, but in some cases 5-Star Movement (M5S) voters chose to vote for the center-left instead of Lega candidates.
  • One month after Italy's national general elections, Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the Partito Democratico (PD), is trudging up a political Mount Everest whose peak hides, invisible, in the clouds. When President Giorgio Napolitano tapped him last week to begin testing the ground for creation of a new government, in essence Bersani was asked to resolve the three-way split that pits his PD against both the rightist Liberty Party (PdL) of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi and the forces of self-righteous, angry Beppe Grillo. Can that three-way split be resolved? These are crucial questions as the vote for the the presidency looms a few scant weeks away.
  • The March 2 Economist magazine has Italy on the cover and the headline: "How Beppe Grillo and Silvio Berlusconi threaten the future of Italy and the euro." The charge: "Confronted by the worst recession in their country since the 1930s and the possible implosion of Europe's single currency, the people of Italy have decided to avoid reality." A better way to put it is that some here have failed to grasp reality because reality is complex. A government that can handle the economic crisis, and the social crisis implicit in it, is necessary, but which government?
  • New York City and Italy have a great deal in common, starting and ending with self-destructive electorates; voters who are intent on putting into office people who, in one way or another, hold them in contempt. In both democracies, The People are generally too ignorant and self-absorbed to notice that the pain they feel is self-inflicted. How does this happen?
  • With national general elections plus elections in three key regions less than five weeks away, the campaign has turned more agitated than any in recent history. Behind the obvious nervous tension is the fact that for the past decade of elections to Parliament and the Senate the country was effectively divided into two camps, and the political battle was limited to center right and center left vying for control over the moderate center. By contrast, this campaign, as veteran commentator Sergio Romano points out in the daily Corriere della Sera, has no certainties. "It's a free-for-all, with everybody against everybody else," says Romano.
  • Facts & Stories
    Judith Harris(April 30, 2008)
    Berlusconi chalks up his second victory this month. “We’ll be licking these wounds for as long as we have tongues, and maybe longer,” was the mournful comment of Alessandro Robecchi, in the left-wing newspaper Il Manifesto.
  • Facts & Stories
    Judith Harris(April 15, 2008)
    “Hanno detto di lui peste e corna, ma poi l’hanno votato tutti.” (They said all they could about him, down to calling him "cornuto", but then they all voted for him.)

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