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  • ROME -- Steve Bannon, mastermind behind the Donald Trump presidential campaign in 2016, is hunkered down this week in Rome, the city he calls "the center of the political universe." Bannon, who is an avid admirer of Italy's Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini, head of the increasingly dominant right-wing political party the Lega, has scheduled meetings here with as many as ten leaders of other European populist parties, from Western as well as from Eastern Europe.
  • Three powerful forces are lobbying for national general elections to be held this autumn, 6 months before the slated end of the legislature: Matteo Renzi's PD, Beppe Grillo's M5S and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia. But if so, they will leave serious unfinished business and may bring a possibly chaotic future.
  • The court in session
    In the final, clipped sentence of its ruling Jan. 25, the Constitutional Court cleared the way for national general elections to be held, even this spring, one year ahead of the formal end of the legislature. Those jubilant over the decision included Matteo Renzi, Beppe Grillo and Matteo Salvini.