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  • Street Art. With Silvio Berlusconi, Matteo Salvini
    President Sergio Mattarella appoints Senate President Maria Elisabetta Casellati to conduct exploratory negotiations for a new government. By way of light relief, in a street art cartoon copying Caravaggio's famous painting politicians are satirized as cardsharps.
  • It is tough economic situation facing young Di Maio if he does manage to become premier of a M5S-dominated government. Small wonder then that last week this youth, born at Pomigliano d'Arco near Naples, made a trip to a Neapolitan church to kiss the relic of the beloved saint San Gennaro, whose blood is believed to liquefy annually.
    Despite his party's resounding lead over every other party in Italy, Di Maio's M5S failed to achieve the 40% necessary to gain control of the government -- at least not yet. But on Friday the newly installed 630-member Parliament and 315-member Senate begins electing their presidents, in a notable show of horse-trading and power.
  • It's a done deal: on Wednesday the Chamber of Deputies passed a revised election law dubbed the "Italicum," with 365 votes in favor, 156 nays and 40 abstentions. The new law, whose aim is to promote governing stability in a country where the political parties are locked in a three-way split, now passes to the Senate for debate and approval. But Premier Matteo Renzi's point was also to show that he can make good on his promises to bring change.
  • The famous Ides of March of ancient Rome fell on March 15, the day when the tyrannical Julius Caesar was assassinated in the building where the Senate was meeting. His assassin was Brutus, acting on behalf of a group of conspirators known as the "Liberators." By coincidence, Italy's neo-deputies and senators take their seats in Parliament and the Senate on that very day. Among them, the largest single political party - 109 members of the Chamber of Deputies (25.5%) and 50 Senators (23% ) - is led by Beppe Grillo, whose weapon of choice in trying to liberate the system from itself is rhetoric.
  • Italian President Giorgio Napolitano refused to sign the bill on fiscal federalism, with comments that it was “unreceivable,” poorly drafted and generic. For Berlusconi the bill was a promise he had to keep, not least because Bossi, the head of the Northern League and the prime sponsor of federalism, is the beleaguered Premier’s sole remaining ally in government. To many, the rebuff showed that the government itself has come to a screeching halt