Now this is interesting news:
The lines of political battle were redrawn in Italy on Tuesday after a prominent opposition politician withdrew his party from the centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi, the former premier.
Pier Ferdinando Casini, the most powerful figure in the centrist Christian Democratic party (UDC), said Mr Berlusconi’s House of Freedoms coalition, which ruled Italy for five years until last April’s general election, had no future. Mr Casini, 51, is a former speaker of parliament’s lower house whose ambition is to create a “new centre” in Italian politics that would bring together moderate reformist forces from right and left and give Italy more stable governments.
From this distance it is hard to see just how genuine and realistic Casini's initiative is, but if it does move forward it is, of course, just the kind of thing Italy needs. This move would seem to have two consequences.
Firstly Prodi's coalition suddenly becomes more governable, since the majority is now no longer necessarily a wafer-thin one. Also Prodi is now so dependent on the left of his coalition. This may become important as we move into 2007.
Secondly in the longer run this may provoke a 'realignment of the centre'. The first whiff of this can already be seen:
At least one party leader in Mr Prodi’s centre-left coalition has already welcomed Mr Casini’s action. Clemente Mastella, justice minister, who has often argued in favour of a “new centre”, said his Popular-Udeur party and the UDC should form a pact and fight side by side in the European Parliament elections of 2009.
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?