As politicians signed off Italy’s 61st government since the Second World War, experts were already warning that the upcoming April election, predicted to see the return to power of veteran politician Silvio Berlusconi, could prove an uphill struggle for the Left.
Lauded as the new face of Italian politics, the 52-year-old Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni is leader of the centre-left Democratic Party. He has shunned talk of coalitions, blaming them for the fragility of previous administrations, and decided to stand alone.
Veltroni, a generation younger than Berlusconi, compares his politics with those of the UK’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President Bill Clinton.
But his colleagues fear Veltroni’s plan may play a part in handing victory to Berlusconi and the centre-right.
Polls have credited the 71-year-old with being ten points ahead, meaning a fragmented opposition may find it harder to succeed against him.
“Berlusconi is like Moses,” said Roberto Maroni of the Northern League.
“He is leading our people through the Red Sea to victory.”
But some see it differently and argue that, with inflation at a ten year high, another free-spending Berlusconi government could undermine previous work at cutting Italy’s large budget deficit.