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  • Just weeks after celebrating his 1,000 days in office, a postwar feat matched by only four previous postwar governments, Premier Matteo Renzi faces a tough constitutional reform referendum Dec. 4. The risk is that the vote will be read as for or against Renzi himself.
  • Op-Eds
    Judith Harrris(December 30, 2015)
    Premier Matteo Renzi says proudly that facts show that 2015 was "a good year, with Italy out of recession" and the Gross National Product (PIL in Italy) unexpectedly rising by 0.8% over 2014. Unemployment dropped from 12% to 11%, and more improvements are expected for 2016, though shadowy areas persist, from food to football.
  • Italy's youthful Premier Matteo Renzi and his more mature Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan are talking money. On the agenda: a pending law that cuts property taxes, raises the cash limit for money transfers, and offers part-time jobs to those waiting for pensions that don't come. But there are also quarrels about public income deriving from gambling.
  • Reform of the Senate to streamline the legislative process is a hallmark of his governing project, but Premier Matteo Renzi faces both in-house opposition and an avalanche of 350,000 amendments. Together these obstacles bring the risk of a showdown.
  • Italians went to the polls on Sunday to elect seven regional governors and city counselors for 742 townships, including Venice, Mantua, Arezzo, Chieti and Agrigento. Premier Matteo Renzi’s Partito Democratico (PD) fared better than predicted: the center-left coalition came first in five regions, winning on average 37% of the vote in all seven. The center-right triumphed in the Veneto and Liguria
  • Spring is busting out all over Italy, but the political climate remains deep winter. Premier Matteo Renzi, whose popularity had been robust at almost 40% in January, is watching his once firm grip on politics slip to today’s 33%. Meanwhile the stormy problems facing his government – public works, migrants, election rules – would challenge any leader anywhere.
  • Facts & Stories
    Natasha Lardera(February 19, 2015)
    “Siamo fieri di te. Grazie Michele." “We are proud of you. Thank you Michele." With these words, Ferrero, Italy's biggest chocolate manufacturer and maker of other delicious confectionery products, pays homage, on its web site, to Michele Ferrero, often described as a real-life Italian Willy Wonka. The octogenarian entrepreneur died at his home in Monte Carlo on Valentine's day
  • “Our goal is to be a people with a true sense of community, who walk with new hope toward a future of serenity and peace,” Italy’s new President Sergio Mattarella, 74, said at his inauguration Feb. 4. His 30-minute speech was interrupted by no less than nine standing ovations and 42 rounds of applause. Almost two-thirds of the electoral college had voted for him, and in the end even a few opponents were clapping hands and smiling.
  • Assailed by a hailstorm of legal troubles, one-time Premier and Senator Silvio Berlusconi, 79, was kicked out of the front door of the Senate thirteen months ago. This week Berlusconi returned, albeit through the back door, thanks to his year-old political agreement – some are now calling it an embrace – with Premier Matteo Renzi known as the Nazareno Pact. Together the two, formally adversaries, have defied their own minority factions to pass an important new election law.
  • “Italicum” – the agreement for reform of Italy’s election system hatched last February by that unlikely couple, Matteo Renzi and Silvio Berlusconi – still looks a bit like pie in the sky. Nevertheless, it is still high on the political agenda, though evolving with important novelties. And on the political stage two Vlads have had perhaps surprising roles to play: Luxuria the trans and Putin the czar.

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