Italians vote amid total uncertainty


Tomorrow and on Monday a general political election will be held in Italy.

A key Parliament will be elected, tasked not only with approving a new Government, but also with electing the new President of the Republic, since Mr. Giorgio Napolitano’s term is expiring.

Mr. Monti’s technical Government will be over, and the President who appointed it will go, too. According to many observers, a new era could begin for Italy. The new Parliament could even herald a Third Italian Republic, after the First Republic (1946-1994) and the current Second Republic (1994-today).

However, nobody has the slightest hint on who will be the winner, supposing that there will be a winner.

According to the Italian law, opinion polls must be kept secret in the days before the elections, and speculation is running wild.

Some rumors say that Mr. Berlusconi could score a surprisingly last-ditch victory, thanks to flamboyant electoral promises and the lack of charisma of his main opponent, Mr. Pier Luigi Bersani.

Others rumors assign a shocking victory to the maverick Five Stars Movement, which wants Italy out of the eurozone.

Both outcomes would be hugely alarming for the international community and the European Union.

The most likely outcome is a divided Parliament, however.

But then what ? In such a case, Mr. Bersani was supposed to forge an alliance with Mr. Monti, provided that the latter can find a modus vivendi with the left wing of the Democratic Party. But now, it is feared that Mr. Monti won’t get enough seats in the Senate to support Mr. Bersani, which would be forced to court the Five Stars Movement. The latter is fiercely hostile to traditional political parties, however.

Mr. Berlusconi hinted at the possibility of a German-style grand coalition of the left and the right, but this seems contrary to his own political tradition and personal temper.


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