Far be it from me to defend Romano Prodi's ignorance about what was actually happening in his cabinet office, what seems to me to be interesting about the controversy is the way the guns are out and pointing in his direction. I imagine we will see a lot more of this as things hot up.
Romano Prodi, Italy’s prime minister, on Thursday rejected accusations that he had acted improperly in a controversy involving Telecom Italia, the nation’s biggest telecommunications group.
Addressing parliament for the first time since the affair erupted almost three weeks ago, Mr Prodi denied that he had known about a report, written by one of his advisers, that recommended Telecom Italia’s partial renationalisation.
The affair has put Mr Prodi on the defensive at a difficult time for his centre-left coalition. It has a precarious majority in parliament’s upper house and is riddled with disputes over Italy’s 2007 budget, due for cabinet approval on Friday.
Apart from raising questions about Mr Prodi’s control over the activities of his own office, the affair has stirred suspicions that the government, for all its reformist rhetoric, cannot resist the temptation to interfere in the private sector.
Italy Economy Real Time Data Charts
Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Italy related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Italy economy charts together with short text updates on a Storify dedicated page Italy - Lost in Stagnation?