bookmakers abounded in
Even the most daring of bookmakers, however, would hesitate to hazard opening a book on the outcome of these elections, or, even more so, on Italy's political future.
It is believed that William Shakespeare got ideas, settings and characters for his Italian based plays in the course of one
or more visits to
Those who fail to take this into account often label Italian political events as "paradoxical", where, in reality they follow a totally logical path, emphasizing the permanent, and widening gap between perceptions and reality, characteristic of the Italian political scene.
immediate post war years until the end of what Italians inaccurately call "the
It is true that, in a period spanning just under five decades, dozens of governments were formed and fell, sometimes after only days in office, while premature elections -- held before the end of the Constitutionally decreed parliamentary mandate - were the rule rather than the exception.
situation had obtained in
An Italian version of de Gaulle has never appeared although some of the post-war leaders have posed as their country's saviours: one of these -- Bettino Craxi -- ended up in luxurious self-imposed exile in Hammamet as a fugitive from justice after heading the most corrupt -- but also the most "stable" -- Italian Government in the decades between the birth of the Republic (1948) and his political downfall (1992).
fact, lies the apparent paradox, for it was precisely in those seemingly
trouble-free years that the seeds were sown for the rise of the so-called "
collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent, not totally unrelated, cataclysm which shook the foundations of the Italian Republic, brought about a
dramatic ending to a system under which, after all, in spite of its perceived
"instability", the country had prospered, Democracy had flourished, the quality of life had become one
of the most envied in Europe and Italian
style and design were known and
appreciated the world over. Today's
The trend, which is being pursued rather clumsily, with little of the classic Italian touch of subtlety, seems to indicate that, no matter what the outcome of the elections, the more powerful political parties will attempt to band together into an unruly "moderate", Catholic-led centrist coalition, which would have a very good chance of lasting out the entire Legislature. There is even cautious talk of a role for Professor Monti, either as head of the Government or as President of the Republic.
solution is certainly not the most desirable one, for, while it would certainly
bring apparent stability to the Italian political scene, it could very well reveal itself as a severe blow to the
democratic process in
The author of this submission, Ambassador Carlo Ungaro, is a retired Senior Italian Diplomatic Officer