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  • Aboard the omnibus government which the canny and youthful Premier-designate Enrico Letta has assembled, under the watchful eye of President Giorgio Napolitano, are 21 cabinet ministers. Most are fresh faces, and the new look is cause for optimism. Despite a smattering of old pols, there are gifted young politicians plus a few experts, if not always in the fields they are destined to govern. And there are the politically correct, who include more women than any Italian cabinet has ever before fielded. Cabinet support comes from Silvio Berlusconi's Freedom Party (PdL), Mario Monti's smaller centrist group Movimento Civico, and Letta's own Partito Democratico (PD).
  • In Italy's most important national general elections in half a century, turnout is expected to be low by the usual standards, but the stakes are extraordinarily high, and begin with the search for finding ways and means to stimulate the economy. And can the pre-election battle lead to a functional coalition?
  • Good grief, the Italian national general elections are only two weeks away, and things are happening so thick and fast that the only way to keep up is with a daily diary of the goings-on.
  • As Leonardo Sciascia once said, it is easy to manage wealth, but hard to manage misery. These are tough times for Italy as elsewhere, and the sight of shops shutting down and factory closures is the elephant in the room of the national general elections just three weeks away. All this is serious enough, but is further aggravated by the daily revelations of the financial shenanigans at the world's oldest bank, the Monte di Paschi (MPS) of Siena, where huge losses were craftily concealed while managers are under investigation for allegedly enriching themselves (the scandals refer to the previous, not the present management, in office just one year).
  • Mario Monti announces his formal entry into politics after 13 months of technical leader of Italy. The outgoing Premier has won the support of the Vatican. However, the polls continue to tell the story. They suggest that Monti has obtained the 20% of the potential electorate for the national general elections slated to take place in late February. Polls also show Silvio Berlusconi (on the right with his troubled Freedom Party (PdL)) at about the same amount while Pier Luigi Bersani (on the left with Partito Democratico) is expected to have at least 35% of vote.
  • At the primaries of the Democratic Party (PD), Pier Luigi Bersani has triumphed, walking away with 63.45% of the votes over his younger rival Matteo Renzi who won only 36.48%. What are the future possible scenarios for the Italian politic?
  • Whether enthusiasts for Obama or for Romney, countless Italians have been remarking, with open envy, that the U.S. presidential election showed that a clear choice could be made, and was. Here, with national general elections looming within five months or less, all is still opaque.
  • Most pollsters agree that the number of those alienated from the mainstream political class has risen to the point that those who say they will not go to the polls or turn in blank ballots, has risen to around 45% of the electorate; some say up to 60%.

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